In only its second year entering the Mississippi National History Day academic competition, McComb School District students were the proud winners of awards in multiple categories. This is a wonderful affirmation for their hard work. Many of the students worked for more than six months to prepare.
The students from McComb Legacies began their film entry last summer during a one week institute on the history of voting rights in McComb. They spent their summer days poring over primary documents, listening to oral history interviews, and visiting historic sites in the area. See photos and stories from the institute. They continued their learning into the fall, dedicating two afternoons a week of their own time after school to create a timeline of the history and turning points. (The 2013 theme for National History Day is Turning Points in History.)
They soon realized that the full story of the voting rights struggle in McComb would be difficult to reduce to a 10-minute film. They consulted with historians who had written the leading books on Mississippi’s Civil Rights Movement history to try to identify the focal point for their film. They decided to create additional entries including an exhibit and a web site.
The historian conversations provided vital mentorship on the focus, flow, and voice of the story. They received weekly support and coaching from the McComb Legacies coordinator, digital media teacher Falana McDaniel. To top it all off, they held a two-day student conference on voting rights with key veterans from the movement in Pike County. They also received guidance from Mississippi History Day volunteer co-coordinator Renee McClendon and had a great send off at a full school pep rally thanks to their high school principal Mr. Lampkin.
None of this could have been possible without the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in a grant to Teaching for Change.
Here is the film entry on voting rights history. It has been edited constantly over the past few months and will continue to be edited in advance of the National History Day competition in June.
The students who placed in first and second place will have the opportunity to represent Mississippi at the National History Day competition to be held in College Park, Maryland (near Washington D.C.) June 9-13, 2013. They will continue to work on their projects between now and then based on feedback from the judges and their peers. Those projects are:
Here are photos from the competition and a list of the McComb award winners with local history projects.
National History Day is a highly regarded educational enrichment program in which more than 600,000 students across the United States participate each year. Through the NHD program, students improve their research and reading skills, critical/creative thinking, oral/written communication and presentation abilities, as well as self-esteem and confidence.
In advance of the statewide competition, the McComb School District showcased the entries for the community on January 18. Organized by high school history teacher Alan Wheat, the event provided an opportunity for students to practice presenting for an audience and it introduced the community to National History Day. See photos and a story about the local event.
Photos by Bill McClendon and Lisa Serrano.