Texas students research recognized during virtual Texas History Day awards ceremony Actor Matthew McConaughey and Houston Texans Defensive End Charles Omenihu offered recorded remarks congratulating the students for their hard work.


April 30th, 2020

AUSTIN, TEXAS – Students, parents, and teachers from across the state tuned in online Thursday night for the 40th Annual Texas History Day Awards Ceremony. Presented by the Texas State Historical Association, the virtual ceremony recognized the history fair’s winners and featured recorded remarks from actor Matthew McConaughey and Houston Texans Defensive End Charles Omenihu.

McConaughey opened the ceremony with a message of congratulations and gratitude to those who participated in the contest. He also closed the ceremony with some thoughts on remarks on historical interpretation and reflection.

“We have to know our history, and we have to look back to see more clearly forward,” said McConaughey. He also recommended that students should “live today in a way that you can look forward to looking back.”

TSHA’s Texas History Day program engages thousands of students each year in the study of history. Throughout the school year, participating middle and high school students choose a historical topic of interest and conduct extensive primary and secondary research on the subject. After analyzing and interpreting their research materials, students create a project—either a research paper, exhibit, performance, website, or documentary—to present their findings to peers and teachers before moving on to regional, state, and possibly national contests.

Traditionally, TSHA holds the state contest at the University of Texas at Austin and the Bullock Texas State History Museum, but given school closures and stay-home orders, the Association held this year’s competition completely online. More than 980 Texas students safely submitted their projects virtually to be scored by 190 volunteer remote judges. Of those students, 70 were selected to advance to the National History Day contest, which will also be held virtually this year.

“We had some incredible project submissions,” said Lisa Berg, TSHA’s Director of Education Services and state coordinator for Texas History Day. “We thank all of the students, teachers, and volunteer judges for being flexible this year and for their participation in the contest. I also wanted to offer a special thanks to Mr. McConaughey and Mr. Omenihu for their messages during the ceremony. We all wish those who are advancing to the national contest the best of luck.”

To learn more about TSHA’s Texas History Day program and to watch a recording of the awards ceremony, visit https://texashistoryday.com.

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