Athletes of the mind take home gold at History Day competition

Lorrin Johnson, Editor-in-Chief

After months of grueling preparation and the excretion of blood, sweat, tears, and brainpower, Liberty’s National History Day competitors won big at the regional contest on March 12, with 13 competitors moving on to the state competition.
Following the remodel of Liberty, JoAnn Olsson, Liberty’s History Day advisor, took on the challenge of hosting an additional Eastside regional History Day competition at Liberty.
“It’s great to have the competition close to home so that friends and family can easily come check out all of our hard work,” senior Vincy Fok said. “If we are referring to History Day as a sport of the mind—as my teammates and I like to—then you could say that having the competition at Liberty gives us a bit of a home field advantage.”
The success of the Patriot History Day team cannot be accredited to home field advantage alone. This is the third or fourth year participating in National History Day for many of the competitors.
“With many returning students participating this year, the projects are automatically really good upfront,” Olsson said. “I used to have to do a bunch of editing before the regional contest, but this year I did barely any.”
And yet many new competitors performed well at the contest, showing promise for future years of National History Day competitions.
“It was my first time competing this year, so I was shocked that we placed,” junior Betsy Faris said. “But I am excited to continue this journey because I love my team and the environment of the competition.”
Olsson reported that high school participation in National History Day is declining. Despite this fact, Liberty’s History Day competitors encourage their peers to participate in the contest.
“We have met so many people we would have never met and gone places we would have never gone if it weren’t for NHD,” Fok said. “You get to become an expert on a topic and then you get to prove your expertise through competition.”
“It may seem like it is just extra homework, but it’s a lot more enriching when you get to decide what you want to research,” junior Dhamanpreet Kaur said. “You find a topic you’re interested in, you find out more about it, and eventually become an expert on it.”