Student history buffs compare knowledge
History buffs had a field day at Mesa State College on Saturday as nearly 100 area middle school and high school students competed for top honors in the seventh annual History Day competition.
Winners in the various categories advanced to the state competition in May at the University of Colorado at Denver. If they do well there, they move on to compete in National History Day at the University of Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C., in June.
Vincent Patarino, a history lecturer in Mesa State’s social and behavioral science department, said students who compete can choose how they want to present their history topics. Students presented papers, performances, documentaries, exhibits and Web sites. The top four finishers in each category move on to the state event.
“What’s important about History Day is they get comments so they can improve,” Patarino said. “History Day is not like science fair where they do just one piece. In history, it’s just like if you’re writing history papers professionally, you get criticized and then you get a chance to change your entry.”
That way the presentations improve as they move into higher levels, which can increase their chances of winning at state, he said.
At state, students will compete against hundreds of others who won in their regional categories. The Western Slope region includes schools from Gunnison to Fruita. The top two in each category at state go on to the national contest, which pits thousands of students against each other from across the nation.