South Carolina Students Shine at 2024 National History Day Competition

Fifty-three South Carolina students whose entries had won first or second place at the South Carolina History Day Contest traveled to Maryland in June to represent the Palmetto State at the 2024 National History Day competition. Seven South Carolina students brought home top honors from this prestigious national event, which is held each June at the University of Maryland. SC Humanities supports South Carolina History Day with a Major Grant.

National History Day’s core program is a competition in which students in grades 6–12 choose a topic and dive deeply into the past by conducting extensive research in libraries, archives, and museums. They then present their conclusions and evidence through papers, exhibits, performances, documentaries, or websites, moving through a series of contest levels where they are evaluated by professional historians and educators. 

In South Carolina, Coastal Carolina University is the official affiliate organization of National History Day and the home of South Carolina History Day. The South Carolina state contest took place April 27, 2024 at Central Carolina Technical College in Sumter.

South Carolina students competed this year against more than 2,600 other students from the United States and International National History Day Programs from American Samoa, Guam, China, Korea and South Asia.

The 2023 theme was Turning Points in History, and South Carolina’s top national winners were:

The Arts In History Prize (sponsored bv Friends of National History Day)
Project Title: “‘There is No Person in the Whole World Like You’: How Mr. Rogers Transformed the Landscape of Children’s Television” (Junior Individual Performance)
Student(s): Caleb Zahn
Teacher: Sarah Bell
School: Ten Oaks Middle School (Myrtle Beach, SC)

History of the Physical Sciences & Technology Prize (sponsored bv American Institute of the Physical Sciences and Technology)
Project Title: “Xerography: Shaping the Course of History” (Junior Group Website)
Student(s): Karen Giery and Emelia Wirth
Teacher: McKeithan Schwartz
School: St. James Middle School (Myrtle Beach, SC)

South Carolina Outstanding Affiliate Winners
Project Title: Nikola Tesla Lit the World (Junior Individual Website)
Student(s): Alexandria Decena
Teacher: Katie Russo
School: North Myrtle Beach Middle School (North Myrtle Beach, SC)

Project Title: The Turning Point in Airport Security 9/11 with the Creation of TSA (Senior Group Documentary)
Student(s): Drew Sims and Ashlyn Sims
Teacher: Laura Cripe
School: Academic Pathways Homeschool Co-op (Fort Mill, SC)

Additionally, Evalyn Ragland of Ten Oaks Middle School also received the Chronicling America Historian Award for her research.

About National History Day® (NHD): NHD is a non-profit organization based in College Park, Maryland, which seeks to improve the teaching and learning of history. The National History Day Contest was established in 1974 and currently engages more than half a million students every year in conducting original research on historical topics of interest. Students present their research as a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website. Projects compete first at the local and affiliate levels, where the top entries are invited to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park. NHD is sponsored in part by National Endowment for the Humanities,  World Education Foundation, Patricia Behring Foundation, 400 Years of African American History Commission, History Channel, Pritzker Military Foundation, The Better Angels Society, National Park Service, Dr. Scholl Foundation, History NET, Doughboy Foundation, Tom Lauer, and Skehan Communications. For more information, visit

About Coastal Carolina University: Coastal Carolina University is a comprehensive, public liberal arts institution in Conway, South Carolina. More than 10,000 students from across the country and the world interact with a world-class faculty, and enjoy a nationally competitive NCAA I athletic program, an inspiring cultural calendar, and a tradition of community interaction that is fueled by more than 145 student clubs and organizations. The Department of History in the Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts is proud to support education and the amazing South Carolina History Day throughout the state.

About South Carolina Humanities: The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c)3 organization is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos, and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually. South Carolina Humanities receives funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as corporate, foundation and individual donors. The National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.