Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

School News

June 16, 2014

Eckelson qualifies for National History Day competition

CROSSVILLE — Earlier this spring, the 2014 East Tennessee History Day competition featured 290 students from East Tennessee representing 22 middle and high school programs. Ninety-four students qualified for the state level competition including one Cumberland County student. East Tennessee’s first, second and third place winners in the Junior and Senior divisions advanced to the state level competition, Tennessee History Day, sponsored by the Tennessee Historical Society in Nashville held on April 12.

William Seth Eckelson from Pine View Elementary School, taught by Rachel Eckelson, placed second at District and second at State in the Individual Documentary category with his entry, "Camp Crossville: Responsible for Guaranteeing Prisoner of War Rights During WWII." Seth also was selected to receive a special award at the state competition — The Society of Tennessee Archivists Award for Archival Research, Junior Division. At the district level he received two special awards — the Randy and Jenny Boyd East Tennessee History Award and the Dan and Mary Shannon Award for Outstanding Use of Primary Sources

Seth now has the opportunity to compete at the national level in competition to be held June 15-19 on the University of Maryland campus in College Park, Maryland. He is one of 62 students representing Team Tennessee.

National History Day is the world’s leading program for history education and invites students from across the country to enter its annual competition. This year’s broad theme is Rights and Responsibilities in History. Students in grades 6-12 are asked to examine any the rights and responsibilities of a topic that peaks their interest — from science, politics, arts, education, and inspirations can come from most any place including local history, textbooks, recent headlines, TV shows or even Twitter. They must share their findings in one of five categories—exhibits, performances, papers, documentaries, and websites.  

“East Tennessee students consistently do well in this competition. Every year students become more competitive, research becomes more intensive, and most importantly, students continue to gain valuable skills that benefit them in the classroom,” says Lisa Oakley, ETHS curator of education and East Tennessee History Day district coordinator. 

History Day began in 1974 as a small, local competition in Cleveland, Ohio with approximately 100 students. The event now attracts about a half-million students each year. The 13th annual East Tennessee History Day District Competition was recently held at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK). The event was co-sponsored by the East Tennessee Historical Society (ETHS) and the UTK Department of History. For more information about the program in East Tennessee, visit Lisa Oakley, district coordinator, by phone at (865) 215-8828 or via email at or visit the website at

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