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Special Awards

The following special awards are available at the state contest for those that reach the state level. Please pay close attention to the categories of the awards and consider them when choosing your topic.

C. M. Caldwell Memorial Award for Texas History (All Categories) 

This prize is presented to the best project focusing on a Texas history subject. The project should relate to the NHD annual theme and provide historical analysis and context for the topic including how it plays an important role in Texas history. Winners receive a medal and $250. Sponsored by Mr. J. Clifton Caldwell.

Colonial Dames Award (Papers Only)

Recognizes outstanding junior and senior division papers dealing with the historical impact of innovative ideas embodied in the U.S. Declaration of Independence and/or the U.S. Constitution. Winners receive a $150 award.

George Washington Leadership Prize (All Categories)

George Washington stood at the center of the world stage through the second half of the 18th century and has continued to do so since his death in 1799.  He played a pivotal role in every major event surrounding the founding of our nation in his roles as Commander in Chief, president at the Constitutional Convention, citizen farmer, and the President of the United States of America.  His actions have been examples of civic responsibility, patriotism, and historic complexity over time and remain relevant in national dialogue today. 

Presented by the Washington Library at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, this $250 prize will be awarded to outstanding projects in both the junior and senior categories that demonstrate a clear understanding of the ideas and events defined by Washington’s life, leadership, and legacy.  In addition to outstanding historical interpretation, we award special consideration to projects that seek innovative and compelling ways to tell the story of George Washington so that his timeless and relevant life are accessible to the world.

Hispanic Heritage Award (Papers, Exhibits, and Websites)

The Hispanic Heritage Award recognizes outstanding papers, exhibits or websites on Hispanic history, bonus awards will be given for topics dealing with Tejano history in Texas during the 1700s and 1800s. Winners receive a medal, $100 and publications from the award’s sponsor, TexasTejano.com.

The Holocaust Award (Papers, Website, Exhibit, Documentary) 

The Holocaust Award recognizes one outstanding historical paper, exhibit, documentary, or website in both junior and senior divisions that deal with the historical impact of The Holocaust.  Sponsored by the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission. Winners receive a medal and a monetary prize of $250. In addition, prize‐winning projects may be selected for publication on the Texas Holocaust and Genocide website.

Description:  Between 1933 and 1945, Nazis segregated and starved Jews, murdering close to six million, as part of a state program whose goal was total annihilation. The Nuremberg Laws revoked citizenship from every Jew and Roma (“gypsy”).   The 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom against the Jews included destruction of property, public beatings, mass arrests, and murders.  Many Jews in the East were killed in mass shootings, while others were forced into ghettos and eventually sent to concentration camps and death camps. There, they faced death from unsanitary living conditions, insufficient food rations, slave labor, and gas chambers.  Other groups were also persecuted and killed by the Nazis and their accomplices. Projects may include all aspects of the Holocaust, including Nazi persecution and Jewish and non-Jewish responses through rebellion, rescue, theology, art, or medical ethics.

Winners receive a medal and a monetary prize of $250. In addition, prize‐winning projects may be selected for publication on the Texas Holocaust and Genocide website.

Jewish History Award (Papers Only)

The Jewish History Award recognizes excellence in writing on Jewish history, preferably Jewish history in Texas. Winners receive a medal and a monetary prize: $100 for first place, $50 for second place.

Locke Lord LLP Legal History Award (Exhibits Only)

The Locke Lord prize is awarded to an outstanding exhibit that best reflects original research into a topic focusing on legal history. Entries relating to any period of modern or ancient legal history will be considered. Students are encouraged to research important court cases, government statutes, and constitutional provisions. The award winner will receive $100 and a certificate.

The Modern Genocides Award (Papers, Website, Exhibit, Documentary)

The Modern Genocides Award recognizes one outstanding historical paper, exhibit, documentary or website in both junior and senior divisions that deal with the historical impact of one of the following genocides:  Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda/Burundi, or Darfur.  Winners receive a medal and a monetary prize of $250. In addition, prize‐winning projects may be selected for publication on the Texas Holocaust and Genocide website.  Sponsored by the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission.

Descriptions: Projects may include all aspects of the genocide, including persecution and responses through rebellion or rescue.

Cambodia: During the 1970s, members of the Khmer Rouge murdered up to 3 million of their fellow countrymen and caused unimaginable suffering to a great number of others, alleging that such actions would ultimately improve everyday people’s quality of life through the establishment of a more egalitarian society under communist rule.  The Khmer Rouge was brutal in its targeting of traditional Cambodian institutions, such as Theravada Buddhism, the family, and education.

Bosnia: In 1992, Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia.  Serbs living in that part of Yugoslavia refused to recognize this move, which would make them a minority population, one considerably smaller than the Muslim majority.  Under the auspices of ostensibly protecting their people, within weeks Serbian forces with the Yugoslav military took control of two-thirds of Bosnia and Herzegovina and quickly began a genocidal campaign against the Muslim Bosniaks. This involved mass murder; systematic terrorization, including rape; forced relocations, sometimes to prison camps; and the destruction of historically Muslim buildings.

Rwanda/Burundi: Starting in April 1994, within a three-month period, more than 800,000 Rwandans were murdered because of their ethnic identity. Women were systematically raped and many moderate Hutus who attempted to aid their fellow Rwandans were brutally killed. Terrified Tutsis sought refuge in churches, some of which became sites of mass murder. The widespread use of machetes meant that blood watered the cities and countryside, and survivors virtually everywhere bore the marks of scars and missing limbs. The atrocities spilled from Rwanda into Burundi, which was already the scene of violence against Tutsi civilians, especially the young.

Winners receive a medal and a monetary prize of $250. In addition, prize‐winning projects may be selected for publication on the Texas Holocaust and Genocide website.  Sponsored by the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission.

Oral History Award (Individual Documentary Only)

Recognizes outstanding oral history work by students. First-place senior and junior division winners each receive a $50, medal, and certificate.  All other winners receive a medal and a certificate. Entrants must: a Conduct at least three oral history interviews that relate directly to the topic and record historically-significant memories; b) Audio or video record the interviews and have the recordings available for the judges; c) Demonstrate ways information from the oral history interviews was used in their project; and d) List the interviews in the annotated bibliography.)

Richard L. Walker Award for Texas Political History (All Categories)

The Richard L. Walker Award for Texas Political History is awarded to the best entry on a topic dealing with the actions and contributions of Texas elected/appointed leaders, candidates for elected office, advocacy groups, or political events which had a significant effect on the state or a specific community.

Ruthe Winegarten Award (All Categories) 

The Ruthe Winegarten Award is presented for excellence in research and writing about Texas Women’s History. The award will be considered only for papers focusing on a woman, or women, or an event or movement central to Texas women’s history. Winners receive a medal and $100.00.

Texas Historical Research Advisory Board’s Best Use of Texas Archival Collections (All Categories) 

The THRAB Best Use of Texas Archival Collections Award encourages students in both the junior and senior divisions to include in their research those primary source materials either created in Texas or held in a Texas repository that represent a first-hand account contemporaneous with their chosen topic. These awards are intended to recognize projects that have utilized archival collections in a substantial way and encourage students to become familiar with archives and archival institutions. The junioer and senior award winners will receive a medal and $250. Applicants must submit a copy of their bibliography and process paper to the coordinator for consideration.

Texas in World War I Centennial Prize (All Categories)

The Texas in World War I Centennial Prize is awarded to the best entry on a topic dealing with the actions, contributions, effects Texans had on World War I or the effects World War I had on the Texas home front. Winners receive a medal and $250.

Visual and Performing Arts Award (Documentary) 

The Showtime International Special Award for the Visual and Performing Arts encourages students in both the junior and senior divisions to select, research, and present topics focusing on dance, music, art, photography, and theater. Projects should focus on the arts and provide historical analysis and provide context for the topic in history as well as the importance of the arts. Winning entries will receive a $100.00 cash prize as well as trophy provided by Showtime International.

Willie Lee Gay Award for African-American History (All Categories)

This prize is presented for the best project focusing on an African-American history, preferably in Texas. The project should relate to the NHD annual theme and provide historical analysis and context for the project including how the topic plays an important role in African-American history. Winners receive a medal and $100.

All History Day papers, regardless of the level the competition they have reached, are also eligible to compete in the Junior Historians of Texas Writing Contest and the additional special Writing Awards available in that program. The guidelines are the same, students just need to become an At-Large MemberAcrobat PDF file, requires Acrobat Reader if they aren't already part of an organized Chapter.

Friends of Texas History Day

The University of Texas at Austin

University of North Texas History Department

TexasTejano.com

Texas Jewish Historical Society

Mr. J. Clifton Caldwell

Ms. Willie Lee Gay

Locke, Lord LLP, Austin

The Descendants of Austin's Old Three Hundred

Ruthe Winegarten Memorial Foundation for Texas Women's History

National Society of Colonial Dames of America in Texas

Texas Oral History Association

The Texas Historical Records Advisory Board

The Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission

George Washington's Mount Vernon