March 19, 2010

Regional history fair set for March 27 at SIUC

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- High school and junior high school students get historical at Southern Illinois University Carbondale at the Southern Region’s History Fair on March 27.

The event, co-sponsored by the SIUC Department of History, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, and the Honeywell Foundation, is the largest in the state. Students begin setting up their exhibits, research papers, and media presentations at 8 a.m., with judging at 10 a.m. In addition, five groups from the Carbondale Middle School entered dramatic presentations under the direction of history teacher Betsy Brown. The displays are open to the public from 1 to 2 p.m. with an awards ceremony beginning at 2 p.m.

Jo Ann E. Argersinger, SIUC history professor and coordinator of the regional event, said students from 30 area schools will participate. She noted the close cooperation with SIUC alumni who now teach at area schools, and the assistance of SIUC graduate students who graded the research papers under the leadership of Christina Bearden-White, co-organizer of the history fair. In addition, Argersinger said, Angela Aguayo, assistant professor in the Department of Cinema and Photography, offered a workshop about historical documentation.

Students who excel at the regional level go on to the Illinois History Expo in Springfield on May 6. From there, superior entries go to National History Day in College Park, Md., in June.

This year’s theme is “Innovation in History: Impact and Change.” Students develop a project related to Illinois history for the regional fair. If they hope to compete at the national level, they also incorporate the theme of innovation.

“We’ve also received a gift from the Pearson publishing company,” Argersinger said, noting that special thanks were owed to Charlyce Jones-Owen and Elaine Shema at Pearson. “They are donating -- again -- thousands of dollars in textbooks for us to give to area teachers. The teachers last year were thrilled at receiving free textbooks, document books, and materials for Advanced Placement courses.”