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Awards, Prizes, and Gifts

Heart of Texas Regional History Fair Awards
The HOTRHF awards medals to first-, second-, and third-place winners and ribbons to honorable mention winners in all competition categories of the junior and senior divisions. All fifth grade division competitors receive a participation ribbon. All history fair competitors and their teachers receive a certificate of recognition for participation.
First- and second-place winners in the HOTRHF competition go on to compete at Texas History Day. The top two state-level winners in each category qualify to compete in National History Day. Many HOTRHF competitors have won distinction at Texas History Day and National History Day. To view a complete list of our past national competitors and winners, click here: HOTRHF Participants in NHD.

Other HOTRHF Awards
In addition to medals and ribbons for category winners, HOTRHF presents a number of awards for overall performance in any category. These include:

  • Ada Margaret Smith Award is presented to the year's most outstanding young historian. Students are nominated for this award by their teachers and submit an application in support of the nomination. Winners are selected by HOTRHF representatives.
  • Baylor University Ruben Santos Memorial Scholarship is presented to an outstanding junior or senior admitted to Baylor. Students submit an application for the scholarship, supported by letters from teachers and principals and other materials. Winners are selected by HOTRHF representatives.
  • Calvin B. Smith Award to the most outstanding teacher of the year. Winners are selected by HOTRHF representatives.
Two additional HOTRHF awards are given each year based on measures of overall quality:
  • Baylor University Department of History award for teachers
  • Historic Waco Foundation award for students

Special Awards from Sponsor Organizations
Each year, a number of Central Texas organizations award prizes and certificates to history fair competitors based on their own special criteria.


  • Some local museums offer free passes or award limited passes to their establishments.
  • The Waco Scottish Rite Bodies, Valley of Waco, Orient of Texas provides the medals for all first-, second-, and third-place winners in the Heart of Texas fair each year. In addition, the Waco Scottish Rite also provides cash awards to local students who win at the state competition and advance to National History Day in College Park, Maryland.

Many Waco and Central Texas businesses generously support the Heart of Texas Regional History Fair by donating gift cards and merchandise for distribution to all fair competitors.