National History Day competitors shoot for nationals

Ella Gage, Staff Writer

There isn’t enough emphasis put on history in class,” sophomore Allyson Mangus said. She and fellow sophomore Tori Cormier will be competing at State for National History Day at Central Washington University on May 5. As they continue through the competition, they have individually learned in-depth about their historical events. Mangus’ project is on the 1842 handover of Hong Kong while Cormier highlighted the invention of nuclear warfare. In the context of gaining an in-depth understanding of history for the project, they each claim Americans can be doing better to teach and understand the history of their own country.
“I don’t think Americans really have a thorough understanding of history,” Cormier said. “I think people like to think they have a good understanding of history, but I don’t think they really have a thorough understanding of it since our education is pretty biased and one-sided.”
The National History Day competition, on the other hand, is entirely based around having an in-depth, unbiased understanding of historical events.
“National History Day’s purpose is about getting people to learn and care about history and also care about that process of what historians do and make connections between the past and the modern world,” AP World History teacher Peter Kurtz said. Cormier can testify to this.
“You have to take the time to learn all sides,” Cormier said. Learning all the angles of history is not only what the project and competition is centered around, but also what Liberty’s two competitors agree our country is lacking.
“People can be so entitled and like to think they know everything, but we as a country clearly aren’t too well-versed in history.”
In contrast, Cormier and Mangus have put significant time into researching and analyzing their historical events for the competition in order to be completely prepared and knowledgeable for the judging panel.
“As I was looking into it I realized National History Day was something completely different from the DBQ style class assignment, so I spent 30 hours redoing my whole assignment over the last week,” Mangus said. Cormier has also spent significant time outside of class editing her project. They both hope the hard work and historical understanding pay off and they’re able to move on from state to nationals.