Four students stand together, each with medals around their necks
Students from Toledo Technology Academy celebrate their accomplishments at the 2024 Ohio History Day Region 1 Contest held at Bowling Green State University.

BGSU Department of History hosts successful 2024 Ohio History Day Region 1 Contest

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The annual contest, sponsored by the Ohio History Connection, saw a notable increase in participation by middle and high school students

The Department of History at Bowling Green State University recently hosted the 2024 Ohio History Day Region 1 Contest, a key event in the academic calendar for high school and middle school students across northwestern Ohio. As a vital steppingstone to the state and national contests, the Region 1 Contest underscores the University's commitment to fostering educational excellence and community engagement. 

This year, the contest saw a notable increase in participation, with 175 students from four schools in Allen, Defiance, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Lucas, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert, Williams and Wood counties showcasing their historical research and presentation skills. 

A row of students seated in folding chairs give thumbs up
Students with Toledo Early College await results at the award ceremony.

"History is always a path of self-discovery, understanding the complexities and serendipity that brings us to this point in time," said Dr. Amílcar E. Challú, Department of History chair and associate professor. "For our faculty, staff and student volunteers, the engagement with Ohio History Day is a way to be part of that joyful process of discovery of who we are and how we got here. And through the judges' feedback, we contribute to the professional development of the participants."

"In other words, this is one of the many ways in which BGSU is a public university invested in the public good," said Becky Brown, coordinator of the event.

The regional event also marked a significant milestone as five students from Region 1 qualified for the national contest, a feat last achieved in 2020. Region 1 is the fourth-largest regional contest in Ohio, after Cleveland, Columbus and Youngstown. The 50th annual National History Day contest, with the theme "Turning Points in History," was held June 9-13 at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland.

The national qualifiers from Division 1 and their projects were: 

  • Michael Heard III of Toledo Early College; first place, Senior Individual Website: “Hip Hop Making Strides Toward Equality: How Urban Youth Launched A Global Phenomenon, Altered the Course of African American History”
  • Daniel Lee and Hayyan Qureshi of Sylvania Northview High School; second place, Senior Group Documentary: “The Miracle Drug: Penicillin's Global Medical Revolution”
  • Marcella Morris and Hannah Tedrow of Pike Delta York Middle School; second place, Junior Group Performance, “When the Sun Came to Earth"

Student engagement and achievements

This year's contest featured a diverse array of projects, with students delving into cultural history, the history of science and Black history. Impressively, 37% of the participants were middle school students, while 63% were high school students. The contest also saw a substantial number of returning participants, with 44% of students having participated in previous years.

The involvement of a new teacher, who brought 15 students, and four returning teachers, each with over five years of participation, underscores the enduring appeal and educational value of the Ohio History Day program.

Three people sit at a table with laptops in front of them
Among the judges for the Region 1 Ohio History Day Contest were, from left to right, Anna Cotternman, historic farm specialist at the Wood County Park District, Caroline Borillo, teaching assistant at Ohio State University, and Alex Eckhart a history major at BGSU.

To support these young historians, the University Libraries' Center for Archival Collections hosted a Research Day in January, providing students with access to invaluable resources and expert guidance.

Partnerships for progress

The Ohio History Connection, the state sponsor for the Ohio chapter of National History Day, continues to be an essential partner in this endeavor. This collaboration highlights the collective effort to enhance historical understanding and appreciation among young scholars.

The success of the Region 1 Contest also was bolstered by the enthusiastic participation of 58 volunteers who judged student projects. Notably, 31% of these volunteers were BGSU students, faculty or staff members, demonstrating the University's deep-seated commitment to community service and academic mentorship.

The broader northwestern Ohio community continued to play a crucial role, with partners such as Midstory, the University of Toledo, the Allen County Museum, Tiffin University, the National Museum of the Great Lakes, Kent State Tuscarawas and Wood County Parks contributing volunteers. The Wood County Museum further enriched the event by hosting a table on the mezzanine with giveaways and promotional materials.

Among the judges were Anna Cotterman, historic farm specialist at Wood County Park District; Caroline Borillo, teaching assistant at Ohio State University; and Alex Eckhart, a history major at BGSU. Their expertise and dedication provided invaluable feedback to the students.

The 2024 Ohio History Day Region 1 Contest at BGSU exemplifies the University's role in promoting public good through experiential educational initiatives. By hosting this event, BGSU not only supports the academic growth of young historians but also strengthens community ties and fosters a love for history that will resonate for years to come.

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Media Contact | Michael Bratton | | 419-372-6349

Updated: 06/24/2024 12:22PM