Skip to main content

Michigan Students Honored at 2022 National History Day

Fifteen Michigan students received special honors at this year’s National History Day competition—including a second-place finish and two special prizes.

Michigan Students Honored at 2022 National History Day

Debate & Diplomacy in History - 2022 National History Day Theme

11/30/22

Written By: Historical Society of Michigan

COLLEGE PARK, Md.—Michigan students were among the thousands of participants from across the United States and several territories competing in the virtual 2022 National History Day contest, which took place June 12-18, 2022. Fifteen Michigan students received special honors at this year’s competition—including a second-place finish and two special prizes.

"It's been exciting to see the topics that students chose for this year's theme of Debate and Diplomacy in History. The students did a fantastic job of exploring the impact that diplomacy and debate have played in large and small communities across the world," said Amy Bradfield, state coordinator for Michigan History Day® (National History Day in Michigan). “I am grateful to the students and teachers who continued with the program despite the obstacles caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The dedication of the students to share history that matters to them is inspiring.”

Michigan History Day is operated by the nonprofit Historical Society of Michigan. 

Michigan students competing in the National History Day competition represented several communities, including Beulah, Bloomfield Hills, Calumet, Clinton Township, Fraser, Gobles, Holland, Kalamazoo, Lake Linden, Mattawan, Milan, Plainwell, Roseville, Saginaw, South Haven, St. Joseph, Traverse City, Troy, Warren, Westland and Whitehall.

Check out the Michigan students who received top honors at this year's national competition below!

Hannah Hysell, Josephine Marsh and Mary Catherine Riley of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School in St. Joseph, sponsor Anna Bourjaily, placed second in the nation for the Senior Division Group Performance category with their entry, “San Antonio ISD v. Rodriguez: Shaping the Future of Public Education.”

Jack Ducote, a homeschool student in Beulah, sponsor Cheryle Redelings, received the Senior Division World War II History Prize for his individual exhibit, “Rigorous Debate, Diplomatic Failure, and America's Worst Day: The Road to Pearl Harbor.”  The award is sponsored by the National World War II Museum. Ducote placed seventh in the nation for the Senior Division Individual Exhibit category.

Alison Chen of Whitehall High School in Whitehall, sponsor Jan Klco, received the Senior Division of the Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers Prize for her individual performance, “One Loved Power: The Diplomatic Legacy of Madame Chiang Kai-shek.” The award was sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Chen placed eighth in the nation for the Senior Division Individual Performance category.

Connor DeVries, Hailey DeVries, Nicholas DeVries, Lydia Nieuwenhuis and Cali VanDyke of Providence Christian School in Kalamazoo, sponsor Michelle DeVries, received the Junior Division Outstanding Affiliate Award, designating them as best-in-state, for their group website entry, “The Cuban Missile Crisis: A Diplomatic Tightrope.” The students placed sixth in the nation for the Junior Division Group Website category.

Laura Thielman of Whitehall High School in Whitehall, sponsor Jan Klco, received the Senior Division Outstanding Affiliate Award, designating her as best-in-state, for her individual documentary entry, “Playing for the People: Van Cliburn, the Cold War, and Cultural Diplomacy.” Thielman placed fourth in the nation for the Senior Division Individual Documentary category.

Three projects from Michigan were selected for virtual showcases in cultural institutions across Washington, D.C. Only 14 websites were selected for inclusion in the Planet Word Website Showcase. Mercedes Cross from Fraser High School in Fraser was selected for her website, titled “Broken Diplomacy: How the White Rose Led Their Debate Till Death.” Cross was sponsored by Tara Fugate.

A total of 34 documentaries were selected for inclusion in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture Documentary Showcase. Iniya Kumar from Boulan Park Middle School in Troy was selected for her documentary, titled “The Story of Acceptance Without Exception: The Stonewall Riots' Effect on the Gay Rights Movement.” Kumar was sponsored by Erika Berger.

The exhibit titled “Debate and Diplomacy: The Acquisition and Creation of the Panama Canal,” created by Myles Daugherty and Nic Sheppard from South Haven High School in South Haven, was selected to represent Michigan in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History Exhibit Showcase. Daugherty and Sheppard were sponsored by Julie Sheppard.

Check out the virtual showcase from June 14 to 27 on NHD's website.

Michigan History Day® is an affiliate of National History Day, which was established in 1974 and offers yearlong project-based learning that engages more than half a million middle and high school students around the world annually. History Day provides a fascinating opportunity to move beyond routine learning. Working with an annual theme, students choose to explore and research a local, national or international historical topic. Students then present their work in one of five categories: performances, exhibits, papers, websites and documentaries.

Lead sponsors of Michigan History Day 2022 are the Huntington Bank Foundation, The Meijer Foundation, the Americana Foundation, the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation, William F. Pickard, Michigan Humanities, the Wilbur and Ruth Wright Charitable Fund and Sally Adler.

The Historical Society of Michigan is the state’s oldest cultural organization, founded in 1828. A nongovernmental nonprofit, the Society focuses on publications, conferences, education, awards and recognition programming, and support for local history organizations to preserve and promote Michigan’s rich history.