What started as a routine project for a high school history class has turned into a ticket to national competition in Washington D.C. for Grayson County High School Senior Jacob Embry.
Embry recently competed in and won first place in his project category, website design, at the State National History Day (NHD) competition on Saturday, April 27 at the University of Louisville.
As a result of his first place win, Embry - accompanied by his Advanced Placement (AP) United States History teacher Brent Weedman - will be taking his project to the NHD national competition, which takes place from June 9-13 in Washington D.C.
If he wins the national competition, Embry said he will earn a $1,000 scholarship.
“I’m excited [to go to nationals] because I get to represent this tiny portion of the state, this community, in D.C.,” Embry said.
The NHD project asked students to discuss major turning points in American history using one of five project categories. These categories included creating a website or exhibit, filming a documentary, putting on a live-action performance, or writing a research paper, Weedman said.
Embry said he initially designed his website as a project for his AP US History class before volunteering to submit it to the regional competition at Kentucky Wesleyan College.
He elected to design a website that discussed how music has affected American culture because, while it is a less conventional method for discussing history, music is something personal to him, Embry said.
“A lot of people use numbers and dates when they think of history,” he said. “I wanted to talk about culture.”
For example, for the 1920’s, or the “Jazz Age” to which it is often referred, Embry depicted the influence of jazz music on American culture; and for the 1950’s, Embry discussed the role music played in the Civil Rights movement, Weedman said.
Weedman said he encourages his students to choose a topic they are passionate about for the NHD project and that for Embry to do his over music was a perfect match.
“It fit Jacob very much,” Weedman said. “Jacob’s a very music-oriented kid…It’s just an extension of him. It gave him a chance to show his love of music.”
The NHD national competition is scheduled for June 9-13, and Embry’s portion of the national competition will take place on June 12.
Embry said he will be staying at the University of Maryland during the competition, and a majority of his time in the nation’s capital will be spent sight-seeing.
Embry said he is most excited about visiting the Capital, and, if time allows, the Smithsonian.
Embry currently lives in Leitchfield and said that, after graduation, he plans to attend Western Kentucky University to study journalism starting in the fall 2013 semester.