March 26, 2015

Students will focus on foreign languages and history

More than 1,500 high school and junior high students from throughout the region will visit Southern Illinois University Carbondale to learn more about foreign languages and history.

On Friday, March 27, the Department of Languages, Cultures and International Trade will host more than 1,100 high school students from nearly two dozen area high schools (and one middle school) for the 43rd annual SIU Foreign Language Day.

The event is from 9:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Student Center ballrooms. Students will participate in foreign language Scholar Bowl tournaments and cultural events, and have the opportunity to practice the languages they learn in class.

A foreign language study forum, beginning at 1:15 p.m., will allow participants to join SIU Carbondale undergraduate foreign language students in a discussion on what it’s like to study a foreign language at the college level. Teachers will have a similar opportunity at the teacher luncheon held during the event.

On Saturday, March 28, approximately 400 junior high and high school students will come to the Student Center for a competitive and educational celebration of Illinois history at the annual Southern Illinois Regional History Fair. 

Jonathan Wiesen, professor of history and event coordinator, said this year he has entries for more than 250 displays, websites, papers and performances.

Performances start at 10 a.m., with a public display of exhibits at 1 p.m. SIU President Randy Dunn will deliver the awards ceremony opening remarks at 2 p.m., and Pete Harbison, representing the Illinois Historic Preservation Society, will also speak.

Students choose their Illinois-related topics that apply to a national theme, “Leadership and Legacy in History.” Students can create visual exhibits or web pages, write a traditional research paper or stage a dramatic presentation. They receive awards of superior, excellent, or good, along with a written evaluation from the judges. Top entries will advance to the Illinois History Fair Expo, May 7, in Springfield, and possibly national-level competition.