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Local Finalists at Illinois History Expo

On May 3, 2012, several hundred middle- and high-school students descended on Springfield, IL for the annual Illinois History Expo. Thousands of students from around the state had already competed in local and regional history fairs, presenting projects in one of several possible categories – exhibit, dramatic production, research paper, video documentary, or website. The students who competed at Springfield had been selected as State Finalists.

Among the Finalist projects were two websites developed by students of Aurora/Naperville-based Meliora. Both projects earned a Superior Blue ribbon, and one was also selected as a first alternate National Delegate.

Each year, Meliora students choose a topic within the annual National History Day theme; this year’s theme was “Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History.” Students craft a thesis statement which combines their topic with the theme, and then develop a project which incorporates evidence and analysis to support their thesis. As the students conduct their research, they visit libraries, museums, online databases, and consult with experts in the field.

While creating their projects, they also develop many of the 21st Century skills, including critical thinking, communication, creativity, and literacy in the areas of technology, information, and media. These abilities are honed during both the research process and construction of their documentaries and websites.

Meliora provides an education alternative which utilizes project-based learning, an inquiry-based approach wherein students develop knowledge and understanding through activities built around intellectual inquiry and a high degree of engagement with meaningful tasks. For more information about Meliora, please visit

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