Noles honored at virtual History Day competition
Staff Writer FORBES HALL
Social studies teacher Stephanie Noles recently received the Joseph B. Hughes History Day Teacher of the Year Award in the High School Division. Noles is the advisor at Rose for National History Day, a nationwide program that encourages more than half a million students from all over the world to conduct historical research on a topic.
“History Day is a national program that allows students to explore various aspects of history and create innovative projects based around a central theme that changes each year,” Noles said. “Students conduct research utilizing primary and secondary sources on a historical topic they select and then present their work through their chosen category: paper, documentary, performance, website or exhibit.”
Throughout the year, social studies teachers have certain topics that they are required to cover in preparation for final exams. This means that there is not a lot of extra time for certain topics that students want to learn about.
“[History Day] provides students an opportunity to explore an area of history that they may be passionate or curious about and then share their knowledge with others,” Noles said. “I am a history geek and love the fact that students get to dive into topics that they may not have the time to fully go into in class.”
In order for Noles to help students deepen their understanding of their topics, she had to find a way to prepare throughout the year for History Day. The perfect time to do so was during different Refresh sessions throughout the week.
“Refresh has allowed time to conduct History Day sessions throughout the year and to get more students involved,” Noles said. “I provide assistance where needed and serve more as a facilitator and sounding board for ideas.”
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, History Day took place virtually this year. As a result, many factors were changed, and every student and school had to adjust. Students had to upload images of their projects for judging instead of the typical process of interviewing and displaying work in person.
“I am grateful NHD continued the competition, but missed the personal touch and the buzz of excitement,” Noles said. “JHR students really shine in their interviews, and I think we saw evidence of that with the change in format this year.”
After reviewing and judging students' projects, teachers are nominated for History Day’s Joseph B. Hughes Award. There are several options for the nomination of this award.
“There is a self-nomination and nomination opportunity… [which] requires some basic information and asks for an essay about involvement with History Day and the impact it has had,” Noles said. “I was nominated, but I do not know by whom.”
After nominations were made and Noles was announced as the winner, they sent her a confirmation email as well.
“[I was] very surprised and very humbled… [because] it is a huge honor,” Noles said. “The students make NHD amazing, [and] I am privileged to help work on projects in history that excite them.”
Noles is proud of her students’ accomplishments and is excited to continue facilitating NHD at the school level this coming year.