In The News

2013 Chicago Metro History Fair Exhibition at Newberry Library

This article orginally appeared in the Examiner

By Sean O’Connor

The Chicago Metro History Education Center (CMHEC) welcomes students, teachers, historians, and the general public to two events and an exhibit at The Newberry Library. The 2013 Chicago Metro History Fair Blue Ribbon Student Exhibition will be on display from Friday, June 21, 2013 to Friday, July 12, 2013.

For The Newberry Colloquium, on Wednesday, June 26, 2013, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., a few students will make presentations and one can visit the 2013 Blue Ribbon Student Exhibition with History Fair students and staff. The History Fair Student Symposium will be on Saturday, June 29, 2013 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Come meet some of the finest student-historians from the Chicago area and see them present their outstanding projects from the 2013 History Fair, including many national and local award winners! Projects will be presented by students in a series of sessions focusing on Turning Points in Chicago History, this year’s National History Day theme.

All are welcome! This event is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Teachers, students, and parents are especially encouraged to attend and hear directly from students about the foundations of their high academic achievement and success in History Fair.

  • § Coffee, juice, and continental breakfast will be served.
    § Teachers can receive CPDUs.
    § Door prizes will be available for attendees.

The Blue Ribbon Student Exhibition is sponsored by the Illinois Humanities Council and The Newberry Library. The CMHEC also thanks these sponsors of the History Fair, Blue Ribbon Exhibition, and reception: BMO Harris Bank; Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke & Alderman Edward Burke; the Chicago History Museum; the Chicago Public Library (CPL); Chopper Trading; ComEd; Madelon & Roger Fross; the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; Gelber; Hall’s Rental; hbk Engineering; Timothy Gilfoyle; the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency; the Illinois Institute of Technology; The Joyce Foundation; Kirkland & Ellis; Patricia & Martin Koldyke; Alan Lee; Manaaki; Niles North High School; Northeastern Illinois University; Penny & Bill Obenshain; Peoples Gas; the Polk Brothers Foundation; Quantum Crossings, LLC; the Robert R. McCormick Foundation; the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC); and Principal Gail Ward & Professor John Ward.

The CMHEC seeks to inspire an interest in history in middle school students and high school students and works to improve history education in classrooms in Chicago and suburban Cook, Lake, Kane, and DuPage counties. The Chicago Metropolitan History Fair, CMHEC’s signature program, is an annual competition in which local students present their own historical research projects on Midwestern history.

Throughout the year, the CMHEC offers programs for students and curriculum materials, as well as professional development programs, for teachers. These programs “support project-based, inquiry methods of learning history,” the CMHEC explains. Founded in 1977, the CMHEC has earned a national reputation for leadership in the field of history education.

Each year, thousands of students and hundreds of teachers at schools both public and private participate in History Fair at the school, regional, state, and national levels. Students spend periods of two to eight months working either individually or in groups on historical research projects.

They conduct historical research and share their conclusions for the public through research papers, exhibits, documentaries, live performances, and Web sites. Over 500 people volunteer annually to serve as judges at History Fair competitions.

Participation in History Fair helps students improve their reading, writing, thinking, and presentation skills as they learn history. Students confront questions of significance, credibility, multiple perspectives, change over time, context, and impact. They learn how to research for and analyze authentic primary and quality secondary sources and how to build a solid argument based on evidence. Through the process, they also learn self-management, communication, and problem-solving skills. Chicago Metro History Education Center programs meet Common Core goals in History and in Reading and Writing Non-Fiction.

The CMHEC is an independent, non-profit, educational organization. It has benefited from long-term support from several sponsoring institutions: The Newberry Library, the CPL, the Chicago History Museum, the UIC, and the Illinois Humanities Council as well as numerous area foundations and corporations.

The organization relies on tax-deductible donations from individuals who believe in the importance of learning history. Earlier this year, the CHMEC celebrated the thirty-fifth anniversary of the History Fair on Saturday, March 9, 2013. SPARK (“Igniting a Passion for History”) History Fair 35th Anniversary Awards Dinner was a big success. Donors and sponsors raised $155,000 to pay for the History Fair.

BMO Harris Bank received the George Javaras Corporate Award. In the early 1980s, Harris Bank began its support of History Fair, and it continues to support the History Fair.

This award is named for George Javaras, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis and longtime CMHEC Board member, who served as Chairman of the Board in the early 1990s.
Patricia Duffy received the Patricia & Martin Koldyke Teaching Award. Pat Duffy taught History Fair for twenty-five years in Chicago Public Schools before she retired, and in retirement has mentored teachers and volunteers.

This award is sponsored by Patricia & Martin Koldyke, who have a deep passion for teaching. Martin Koldyke founded the Frontenac Company in 1971 and led the firm until his retirement in 1993.

He is also a former Chairman of the Academy for Urban School Leadership. Patricia & Martin Koldyke founded the Golden Apple Foundation.

Roger Fross received the Richard Brown Award. A longtime partner at Locke Lord, he has served on the CMHEC Board of Directors since the early 1990s. Fross “has a deep appreciation of Chicago history and has provided extraordinary leadership and generous support for CMHEC for two decades,” according to the CMHEC. “The award is named for Richard Brown, one of the founders of History Fair at the Newberry Library, who served on the History Fair Board of Directors from 1979 until 2009.”

*Children Can Earn Free Books at Barnes & Noble*

Children can earn a free book at Barnes & Noble. There are three steps.
First, read eight books and record them in a Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Imagination’s Destination Journal. Second, bring the Reading Journal into a Barnes & Noble store between May 21, 2013 and September 3, 2013. Third, choose a free book from the list on the back of the Reading Journal.