News Release, Maryland Humanties

(Baltimore, MD) – Nearly 600 middle and high school students submitted projects online to present their extensive historical research at the 2020 Maryland History Day competition. The competition, usually held in person, is the culmination of a year-long program from Maryland Humanities. Due to COVID-19, Maryland Humanities converted the contest to a digital format this year, with project evaluation across five categories taking place over four weeks.  In 2020, more than 25,000 Maryland students participated at the school level.

Maryland History Day, coordinated by Maryland Humanities since 1999, is open to public, private, parochial, and homeschool students in grades 6 through 12. Working solo or in small groups, students create original documentary films, exhibits, performances, research papers, or websites exploring a historical topic of their choice on an annual theme, which this year is “Breaking Barriers in History.” Maryland History Day sparks critical thinking and helps develop skills in research and analysis, writing, and public speaking.

Competitors at Maryland History Day have already won first or second place in their category at school and district levels. Students from seventeen Maryland counties and Baltimore City received special awards, designated for outstanding Maryland History Day projects that cover specific subjects.M. Scott Baker, who teaches at North Dorchester High School, and Sarah Mason, who teaches at Bennett Middle School in Wicomico County, were honored as the Maryland History Day Statewide High School and Middle School Teacher of the Year, respectively. Maryland Humanities also selected a District Teacher of the Year for each county with participating schools.

Students from seven Maryland counties and Baltimore City will represent Maryland in the National History Day competition, where they will compete among 3,000 participants from across the country and beyond. National History Day has also converted their contest to a digital one in 2020, held in June. The competition involves students from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and international schools in China, Korea, and South Asia. Maryland History Day is an affiliate of National History Day, a non-profit education organization that promotes an appreciation for historical research among middle and high school students through multiple annual programs, including the National History Day Contest.


Special Prize Winners:

Student: Paige Plater

  • Award: Special Prize in African American History, Junior Division, sponsored by Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture
  • Topic: The Cost of Equality:The Story of Daisy Bates 
  • Category: Documentary
  • School: Windy Hill Middle School
  • Teacher: Ryan Folmer

Maryland History Day District Teacher of the Year:

  • Lindsay Morris, Huntingtown High School


Advancers to National History Day:

Student: Skylan Brassell

  • Award: Junior Individual Performance, Second Place
    Topic: Rachel Carson: Breaking the Barriers of Chauvinism In Society and Science to Become the
  • Voice of Conservation
  • School: Neighborhood Creative Arts Center
  • Teacher: Georgia Bonney

Special Prize Winners:

Student: Jillian Daniel and Kathryn Daniel

  • Award: Special Prize in the History of Science and Technology, Junior Division, sponsored by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County History Department
  • Topic: Katherine Johnson: Breaking Gender and Racial Barriers
  • Category: Group Website
  • School: John Hanson Middle School
  • Teacher: Victoria Davenport

Students: Matthew Fialkowski

  • Award: Award for Excellence in Civic Action and Engagement, Senior Division, sponsored by Maryland Council for Social Studies
  • Topic: Bloody Sunday: Breaking Barriers for Voting Rights
  • Category: Individual Exhibit
  • School: Maurice J. McDonough High School
  • Teacher: Christopher Scott

Maryland History Day District Teacher of the Year:

  • Benjamin J. Haman, General Smallwood Middle School

Support for Maryland History Day is provided by the State of Maryland through the Maryland State Department of Education, Thalheimer-Eurich Charitable Fund, WesBanco, Columbia Gas of Maryland/NiSource Foundation,Venable Foundation, andWegmans.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...