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Bel Air High student wins award at Maryland History Day competition

Olivia Borkowski-Johnson of Bel Air High School is pictured in front of the S.S. W. John Brown. Olivia's project, titled "Maritime Heroes of Liberty Ships: Breaking Barriers on Land and Sea," recently won an award at the 2020 Maryland History Day competition.
Olivia Borkowski-Johnson of Bel Air High School is pictured in front of the S.S. W. John Brown. Olivia's project, titled "Maritime Heroes of Liberty Ships: Breaking Barriers on Land and Sea," recently won an award at the 2020 Maryland History Day competition. (Courtesy photo)

Olivia Borkowski-Johnson of Bel Air High School won an award at the 2020 Maryland History Day competition.

Olivia won the Special Prize in Historic Preservation, Senior Division for her website entitled, "Maritime Heroes of Liberty Ships: Breaking Barriers on Land and Sea."

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Nearly 600 middle and high school students submitted projects online to present their extensive historical research at the Maryland History Day competition. The competition, usually held in person, is the culmination of a year-long program from Maryland Humanities.

Due to COVID-19, Maryland Humanities converted the contest to a digital format this year, with project evaluation across five categories taking place over four weeks. In 2020, more than 25,000 Maryland students participated at the school level.

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Maryland History Day, coordinated by Maryland Humanities since 1999, is open to public, private, parochial, and homeschool students in grades 6 through 12. Working solo or in small groups, students create original documentary films, exhibits, performances, research papers, or websites exploring a historical topic of their choice on an annual theme, which this year is “Breaking Barriers in History.”

Maryland History Day sparks critical thinking and helps develop skills in research and analysis, writing, and public speaking.

Competitors at Maryland History Day have already won first or second place in their category at school and district levels. Students from 17 Maryland counties and Baltimore City received special awards, designated for outstanding Maryland History Day projects that cover specific subjects.

Students from seven Maryland counties and Baltimore City will represent Maryland in the National History Day competition, where they will compete among 3,000 participants from across the country and beyond.

National History Day has also converted their contest to a digital one in 2020, held in June. The competition involves students from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and international schools in China, Korea, and South Asia.

Maryland History Day is an affiliate of National History Day, a non-profit education organization that promotes an appreciation for historical research among middle and high school students through multiple annual programs, including the National History Day Contest.

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