What is the Heart of Texas Regional History Fair?
The Heart of Texas Regional History Fair (HOTRHF), in association with Texas History Day (THD) and National History Day (NHD), is an exciting way for students to study history and learn about issues, ideas, people, and events. Students are encouraged to choose any topic in local, national, or world history and investigate its historical significance and relationship to the theme by conducting extensive primary and secondary research. After analyzing and interpreting their information, students present their findings in papers, exhibits, performances, documentaries, or websites that are evaluated by historians and educators. Students will acquire useful historic knowledge as well as develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills that will help them now and in the future. At the competition, students will have the opportunity to meet students from other schools, exchange ideas, and demonstrate the results of their work. Their success in researching and producing a HOTRHF entry can lead to the state and national contest.
Who hosts and administers HOTRHF?
The Texas Collection, a special collections library on the Baylor University campus, provides administrative support for the Heart of Texas Regional History Fair.
When and where is the history fair held?
The HOTRHF is held in February on the Baylor University campus in Waco, Texas. Texas History Day is held in late April at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas. National History Day is held in June at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland.
How big is the history fair?
HOTRHF is one of the largest regional fairs in the state, with an average of over 350 participants per year. We have gained recognition throughout our 14-county region as a highly effective educational vehicle to encourage research, writing, and critical thinking skills, web design, drama production, and teamwork for junior and senior high school students.
Are there any other benefits from students and teachers participating in the history fair?
Local media not only cover the HOTRHF annually, but they often follow up on students in their area after the event. Special Award organizations often invite students to present winning projects to their members, and they may further reward the student with additional monetary or material awards. Students who advance to the Texas History Day competition, along with their teachers, are recognized by area politicians and school boards at public meetings or ceremonies. HOTRHF students advancing to National History Day, along with their teachers and their school administrators, are recognized by the Texas State Board of Education and various politicians at public meetings or ceremonies.
How do I get started?
Check out our Participate page to learn more on how to start.
Who is eligible to participate?
Any student in grades 5-12 who attends a public, private, charter, parochial, military, or home school within the following 14 counties is eligible to enter the HOTRHF: Bell, Bosque, Coryell, Falls, Freestone, Hamilton, Hill, Lampasas, Limestone, McLennan, Milam, Mills, Navarro, and Robertson.
What are the divisions?
HOTRHF has three divisions based on school grade: 5th Grade Division (Grade 5, exhibits only, individual or group,) Junior Division (Grades 6-8,) and Senior Division (Grades 9-12).
Entries in each division are judged separately at all levels of competition. Texas History Day (THD) and National History Day (NHD) do not sponsor fifth grade participation.
What are the contest categories?
Students may enter one of five categories: exhibit, paper, performance, documentary, and website. All categories except paper may be entered as either an individual or a group (2-5 members).
What is a Sponsor?
A sponsor acts on behalf of the student for all coordination with the HOTRHF, THD, and NHD. The sponsor helps register the student and pays fees to HOTRHF. They ensure the student is aware of all necessary information and that the student attends the HOTRHF at their scheduled times. The sponsor is usually a teacher, but can be another if the need arises. Sponsors are not required to be a history/social studies teacher.
What if I don't have a sponsor?
If you are interested in entering a project in the HOTRHF and do not know whether your school participates in the HOTRHF, please ask your History or Social Studies teachers. If your teachers are not interested in sponsoring you then you should ask your school counselor or other school administrators to help finding a sponsor.
How do I, the student, enter a project in HOTRHF?
Sponsors are required to enter the HOTRHF. Your sponsor must register before you are able to register. Once your sponsor has registered, you will be able to register via our online registration system.
What is a local fair?
All HOTRHF participants should first have their work evaluated at the local level by a teacher using the National History Day criteria and rubrics. Local history fairs are usually classroom, school, or district wide contests, depending on the specific school. Home-schooled students/parents are encouraged to work with their local associations or consortia to set up local fairs. Local history fairs should be completed before the registration deadline for HOTRHF.
What if there isn't a local fair? What if I am the only person from my school interested in entering the HOTRHF?
A local level fair can consist of showing the project to teachers or other adults who can give tips how the project can be improved. Teachers who need more information on how to organize a fair at their school or sponsor students at the regional fair are encouraged to contact the HOTRHF office. Please contact the HOTRHF office if the student is not attending a regional school or if the student's regional school is not competing at HOTRHF.
What if my high school doesn't participate, but my middle school does?
If you are now in a high school that does not participate, but a middle school in your district does, ask the middle school teacher if he/she would be your sponsor. You would still be representing your high school, but the middle school teacher would act on your behalf. If you cannot find a sponsor in your school ISD, please contact our office and we will help you find a sponsor. Please note that you cannot enter the HOTRHF as an individual student with a sponsor outside of your school when your school is already participating in the HOTRHF. Schools are limited to the number of entries that are allowed to be submitted in each category from each division.
NATIONAL HISTORY DAY
Can students advance past the regional level?
Yes. The first and second place contestants from the HOTRHF advance to Texas History Day (THD) in late April. At THD, students compete against winners from the 22 other regions around the state. Winners from THD can advance to National History Day in June.
Does HOTRHF ever have students who advance to National History Day?
The HOTRHF has sent students to National competition starting in 1989. HOTRHF has been represented by at least one project every year at National History Day since 1998.
What sort of awards do National winners receive?
First place at National History Day wins a gold medal, the title "National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Scholar", and a cash award of $1,000. Second place wins a silver medal and a $500 cash award. Third place wins a bronze medal and a $250 cash award. Special Award organizations also recognize students with a variety of monetary and material prizes.