Hawaiʻi History Day

Hawaiʻi History Day Current News and Events:

2021-2022 Hawaiʻi History Day Calendar: We are excited to release our new calendar for Hawaiʻi History Day 2021-2022! Click here for a printable version.*Please note that some dates and locations may be subject to change. Please email historyday@hihumanities.org for more information.



Upcoming Events: 

Join us for three upcoming events in the month of July!

Teacher Mastermind Session: Get a head start on the new school year! For teachers interested in doing History Day and looking for support from a strong community, join our Teacher Mastermind Session! This session will feature veteran teachers who will share helpful tips and tricks for teaching History Day. First session, Tuesday, July 13. Click here to join!






ʻOlelo Hawaiʻi Informational Meeting: For teachers interested in participating in Hawaiʻi History Day in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, we will have an informational meeting to discuss resources and offer support. Come and join us! Wednesday, July 21. Click here to join!




Nakem! Filipino & Filipino-American History, Culture, and Food in Hawaiʻi: Looking for resources to teach and learn on Filipino history and culture? Join us for this exciting virtual student and teacher workshop led by Filipino Scholars who will cover Filipino & Filipino American History, curriculum, resources, and interactive activities to use in your K-12 classrooms. Click here to join this workshop!

Also, click below for resources on National History Dayʻs 2021-2022 theme, “Debate and Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, and Consequences.”



2021-2022 Hawaiʻi History Day Theme Resources

This year, the theme for History Day is “Debate and Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, and Consequences.” For more details on the theme for this year, see the 2020-2021 theme description. Also, click the Calendar link to see our most recently revised schedule for 2021.

What is Hawaiʻi History Day?

Hawai‘i History Day, a state affiliate of National History Day (NHD), is a year-long history education program that invigorates the teaching and learning of history in grades 4-12. It promotes a theme-based, research-centered model for history and civics education. Students present their projects in an exhibit, performance, documentary, essay, or website project. History Day culminates in the presentation and evaluation of these projects at school, district, state and national history days.

In 2019-2020, Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities is celebrating 30 years of Hawaiʻi History Day programming. What a wonderful ride it’s been so far! We are immensely  privileged to be working with grade school, middle school and high school teachers in Hawaiʻi, who work so hard enriching the lives of our children. Teachers and schools who participate in Hawaiʻi History Day go above and beyond the call helping their students work on projects that take months of research and preparation, a rare opportunity for many students. The goals of our program are to offer teacher and students another path towards broadening historical perspectives and deepening understanding of the stories of our past, the complex and beautiful moʻolelo that make up our human experience.

As an introduction to our program (or perhaps a nostalgic reflection, if you are already part of our Hawaiʻi History Day community), please enjoy this beautiful video, lovingly put together by Dorian Langi, who has been a dedicated volunteer to Hawaiʻi History Day for many years. Mahalo nui, Dorian, for such a caring testament to this work and this program.

Three Divisions
  • Senior Division: Students in grades 9-12
  • Junior Division: Students in grades 6-8
  • Youth Division: Students in grades 4-5
Five Different Formats
  • Exhibit
  • Performance
  • Documentary
  • Essay
  • Website
Who can participate?

Public, private, charter, and home school students in grades 4-12 are eligible to participate in the Hawai‘i State DOE District in which their school is located.

Hawaiʻi History Day Past News

Congratulations to our students and teachers!

As we end our 2020-2021 History Day season, we would like to congratulate our students and teachers who have worked so hard to Mālama Our History during this unprecedented time. We would also like to celebrate our students, teachers, and families who received top honors at the national level. We are excited and honored to showcase these projects! Visit our new webpage to see the amazing work they have done.

We hope to see everyone soon, and we are working hard to provide even more to you all next year.

E mālama i ka moʻolelo

–Hawaiʻi History Day Team

Hawai‘i Students Take Top Honors at 2020 National History Day Virtual Competition

June 26, 2020–As the National History Day (NHD) competition came to an end, Hawaiʻi’s 52 competitors took home top awards in the nation, including one gold medal, one silver medal, and one bronze medal. This year Hawaiʻi’s delegation consisted of 52 State finalists, from O‘ahu, Kaua‘i, Maui, Moloka‘i, and Hawai‘i Island, who competed against just under 3,000 students from across the country and around the world. 

“To make it to the National Contest in a normal year is a remarkable achievement,” said NHD Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “Given the unprecedented challenges that faced students over the last several months, I am even more impressed by what they achieved this year.”

The local NHD affiliate, Hawaiʻi History Day (HHD), is a year-long project-based educational program, where students grades fourth through twelve dive deeply into a historical topic of their choice, creating a research paper, documentary, performance, exhibit display board, or website, and developing critical thinking skills valuable for college and careers. This year they undertook extensive research on the theme: “Breaking Barriers in History,” looking at moments when the path of our society was forever changed. More than half a million middle and high school students, from the US and around the world, compete in the National History Day program at their local level. 

This year, 16-year-old ʻIolani high school student Summer Royal captured the National History Day gold medal for her senior-division documentary: The Tereshkova Effect: The Role of Propaganda in Breaking Barriers.


Read More

A Slam Poem about Hawaiʻi History Day

Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner is internationally renown for her powerful poetry and her engagement around climate change. In 2014, she spoke before the UN for the Secretary General’s Climate Summit. Her poem, written for her daughter, “Dear Matafele Peinem” received a standing ovation.

While attending UH Laboratory School, Kathy participated in Hawaiʻi History Day telling the story of her people, the Marshallese, and how the United States tested 67 nuclear bombs in the Marshall Islands. The impact of this history has been long lasting, tragic, and often unacknowledged.

Participation in Hawaiʻi History Day has a lasting impact on people’s lives. It strengthens and creates intergenerational bonds throughout our community and fosters the capacity to understand the world beyond our immediate individual experiences.

The stories and histories of many of our communities have not yet found substantive places in conventional curriculum. Hawaiʻi History Day provides an opportunity to look at the mana wai, the richness, depth, and diversity of all our stories here in the islands.