Morgan Park Academy’s annual eighth-grade history fair project produced not only a host of outstanding exhibits, but also six qualifiers for the state finals in Springfield.

Kaylyn, Lauren, Oriah, Sophia, Walter, and Caitlin will represent MPA at the state level after being recognized by judges at the Chicago Metro History Fair regional competition.

The six students joined classmates Teddy, Chase, Madison, and Anna at regionals after being selected as best in class by MPA faculty.

Morgan Park Academy eighth-graders participate each year in this popular and challenging competition, researching and presenting a long-form research project. Over three months of work during the winter, students researched primary sources, including visiting the archives of the Chicago History Museum, and created museum-like exhibits, summary statements, and annotated bibliographies.

Students develop high-level academic skills as they conduct research and synthesize sources to build their own arguments. They develop important civic reasoning skills as they critically evaluate sources and connect their study of the past with the world they see around them today. History Fair students build agency and confidence as they become subject-matter experts on their chosen topics.

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This year, the fair’s theme was “Communication in History: The Key to Understanding.”

Kaylyn’s exhibit focused on the rise and impact of Ebony and Jet magazines.

Lauren researched Provident Hospital and Training School, founded by Daniel Hale Williams in 1891 as America’s first integrated hospital.

Oriah studied the riots that erupted in Chicago in 1919 after the killing of young swimmer Eugene Williams.

Sophia researched the impact of the huge blizzard that hit Chicago in 1967.

Walter studied the massive engineering project Chicago undertook in the 1850s to raise its blocks because of water problems.

Caitlin created a documentary on the evolution of attitudes toward and treatment for mental health, starting in the 19th century.

Teddy, Chase, Madison, and Anna also earned recognition from MPA judges for their exhibits on Chicago history through the lenses of house music, the Chicago open housing movement, former mayor Harold Washington, and Prohibition-era organized crime.


The Chicago Metro History Fair is a project-based inquiry program that challenges students to become historians by actually doing history. Guided by their teachers, local students in grades 6-12 choose their own topics connected to Chicago or Illinois history, and then conduct research, analyze sources, make an argument, and finally produce a project to show their work. Students make websites, performances, documentaries, papers, and exhibitions which are evaluated by community volunteers at annual competitions in the Chicago metro area. This rigorous and rewarding program prepares youth for high school and college expectations as well as civic engagement. Learn more at

Illinois History Day is a statewide program for students grades 6-12 who are interested in building research skills while learning about their state’s history. Students can create a research paper, exhibit, website, documentary, or performance about Illinois’ long and varied history. Students present their research at regional contests across the state. Those who receive a superior ribbon at their regional will be able to attend the state competition hosted in Springfield in May.