Division of Archives and Records Service
Inspiring students through the power of history over group of students photograph

Utah History Day 2023: History in Government Winners

Lauren Katz
May 16, 2023

Every year in April, 4th through 12th grade students from across the state embark on a research project for Utah History Day, part of the larger National History Day contest. Students choose a historical topic related to the annual theme, and then conduct primary and secondary research in libraries, archives, and museums. The final projects are presented in one of five ways: an exhibit, documentary, performance, paper, or website. The 2022-2023 theme was Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas, which invited students to consider questions of time and place, cause and effect, change over time, and impact and significance.

Banner for NHD that shows students performing.

History in Government Prize

As a repository that holds millions of primary records, the Utah State Archives and Records Service Division loves to participate in Utah History Day! We sponsor a special History in Government prize, which looks to highlight projects that relate to local, state, or federal government policies and political leaders. This year we had 24 nominations to review and we were thrilled to be back in person for this year’s contest! After a tough review process, two projects took home top honors and a $100 prize.

Forever Hold Your Peace: How Loving v. Virginia Shaped Marriage in the United States

Vivi Dowler standing in front of her award winning exhibit.

The winner of the History in Government prize for the Junior Division is Vivi Dowler from Lakeridge Junior High. Her exhibit, titled “Forever Hold Your Peace: How Loving v. Virginia Shaped Marriage in the United States,” examined the landmark court case that legalized interracial marriage and eradicated anti-miscegenation laws in the United States. Coming from a multiracial background herself, Vivi connected with this history and spent months working on her wedding-themed exhibit. Good luck at Nationals, Vivi!

United States v. Wong Kim Ark: Establishing U. S. Minority Birthrights

Jenna, Kyle, and Maylan, winners of the 2023 Government Prize for Seniors at NHD

The winner of the History in Government prize for the Senior Division is a website by Jenna Tran, Kyle Linnhan, Maylan Jessop from Skyline High School. Titled “United States v. Wong Kim Ark: Establishing U.S. Minority Birthrights,” the website details the 1898 Supreme Court case that reaffirmed the right of citizenship for all persons born in the U.S. regardless of parental citizenship. With this ruling, Wong Kim Ark acted as a frontier to birthright citizenship—his case bringing additional precedent to future citizenship policy. As children of Asian immigrants, Jenna, Kyle, and Maylan wanted to tell this important story and our judges were particularly impressed with their use of primary source immigration documents, photos, and court case records.

Congratulations to all the winners! We look forward to many more successful years of projects with Utah History Day!