Showcasing National History Day


Eighth graders recently unleashed their creativity and critical thinking skills for the National History Day Regional Competition, coordinated by the Chester County History Center. Of Agnes Irwin’s 41 participants, 15 earned spots at the state competition later this spring, and 3 received honorable mentions.

The year-round National History Day (NHD) Program offers 6th through 12th grade students the chance to compete against their peers at the regional, state, and national levels. This year, 300 students in Delaware and Chester counties entered the regional competition.

The 2021 theme, “Communication in History: The Key to Understanding,” asked students to consider how people interact with one another and exchange information, as well as how communication methods have changed over time and impact the present. For Agnes Irwin students, this included the creation of a virtual museum featuring papers, exhibit posters, documentary videos, and websites.

Students analyzed the circumstances and messages surrounding historical events and figures, such as the Cold War propaganda, Japanese internment camps, and how leaders in the women’s suffrage movement used speech to advocate on behalf of others. Several exhibits addressed the role that communication played in important anti-discrimination and civil rights events, such as Brown vs. Board of Education, the Greensboro Sit-Ins, the Underground Railroad, and an in-depth look at the Civil Rights Movement and its impact on subsequent anti-racism initiatives, such as Black Lives Matter.

Middle School History Teacher Corey Willingham used the NHD competition as a long-term, collaborative U.S. history project. “I am always looking for opportunities to have the girls practice their research, organization, and historical argument skills,” she noted. “National History Day provides a competitive environment and allows the girls, in a way, to connect with other middle school historians in our region.”

Congratulations to all our participants, and especially to our future state competitors and honorable mentions:

Junior Group Exhibit

  • First Place: The Underground Railroad: Quilt Codes — Caroline Chisholm, Claire Sexton, Cassidy Vollmer
  • Third Place: Underground Railroad — Katherine Hubschmidt, Sophia Rodak, Gabrielle Selbert

Junior Group Website

  • First Place: Greensboro Sit-Ins of 1960 — Julia Ann Gardenhour, Osayamen Oraegbu, Nylah Urquhart
  • Second Place: Murals in Philadelphia — Britty Page, Brook Wolitarsky

Junior Group Documentary

  • Third Place: The Civil Rights Movement vs. Black Lives Matter — Maya Bright, Paris Holiday, Siyah Lewis
  • (Honorable Mention: Lucretia Mott — Hafsa Kanchwala, Chloe Pedrotti)

Junior Individual Website

  • (Honorable Mention: Rosie the Riveter — Kiran McCormick)

Junior Paper

  • Second Place: How Modern Communication Devices Affect African American History — Rachel Avery

You can read all of the AIS National History Day Showcase entries for yourself! Click here to see the entries.

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