Special Awards

Each year, a number of Central Texas organizations and individuals award generous special prizes to history fair competitors. Winners of these awards are selected according to criteria established by the sponsoring organizations, and projects are judged by representatives of the sponsors. Sponsors present their awards to the selected student winners during the awards ceremony at the conclusion of the fair.

The following organizations are Special Awards Sponsors of the Heart of Texas Regional History Fair:

Baylor Law School

Established in 1857, the Law School is a professional school that combines theory with practice and nurtures a commitment to service and responsibility. The award recognizes outstanding projects related to communication in the law among the junior individual and group exhibits and senior individual and group exhibits.

Baylor University Institute for Oral History

Since 1971, the Institute has recorded history through the voices of eyewitnesses to the past. Entrants must a) conduct at least three oral history interviews that relate directly to the topic and record historically-significant memories; b) audio or video tape the interviews; c) demonstrate ways information from the oral history interviews was used in their project; and d) list the interviews in the annotated bibliography.

Colonial Dames of the XVII Century, Gov. Samuel Mathews Chapter

Among many other goals, the chapters of the Colonial Dames of the XVII Century desire to foster interest in America’s colonial heritage and to educate the nation’s youth. Waco’s Gov. Samuel Mathews Chapter award recognizes the one best senior individual documentary or senior individual performance focusing on activities in the American colonies before 1700.

Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Sterling C. Robertson Chapter

The Daughters of the Republic of Texas encourages research, preservation, and publication of the earliest historical records of Texas, especially those relating to the Revolution of 1835 and the events that followed. The Sterling C. Robertson Chapter award recognizes entries in the junior and senior divisions historical paper, individual and group documentary, and individual and group exhibit categories and in fifth grade individual and group exhibits that perpetuate the memory and spirit of men and women who achieved and maintained the independence of Texas.

Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute

The goal of the Free Enterprise Institute is to teach young people about the free enterprise economic system, which provides the opportunity for doing business with a minimum of government regulation and encourages people to invent something new, start a business, or create a company. The prize recognizes one entry that showcases an individual, business, or company that exhibits an entrepreneurial spirit and experiences both the challenges and benefits of the American free enterprise economic system. Entries eligible for this award are fifth grade individual exhibits, junior and senior historical papers, and junior and senior individual exhibits.

Historic Waco Foundation

The mission of Historic Waco Foundation is to collect, maintain, preserve, publish, and interpret the heritage and history of Waco, McLennan County, and Texas. The award recognizes best projects with considerable information representing historical events or connections to Waco or McLennan County, Texas. Information linking the project to the Waco–McLennan County region must be substantial, not just a mention of the place. Nominations for this award may be made for fifth grade individual or group exhibits, junior or senior historical papers, junior or senior individual or group exhibits, or junior or senior individual or group websites. Up to three awards may be made.

Jewel Moorman Memorial Award

To celebrate her Native American heritage, Waco educator Karen McDonald created this award in memory of her grandmother, Jewel Moorman. The award recognizes a project that best exemplifies the contributions and impact of Native Americans to the history of the United States, past and present. Categories eligible for this award are junior and senior, individual and group documentaries, exhibits, and performances.

Museum Association of Waco

MAW brings together people representing various cultural institutions in Waco to facilitate educational opportunities and training, foster the exchange of knowledge, promote the cultural community, and provide scholarships and grants. The award recognizes the best use of exhibit design and display among fifth grade, junior, and senior individual exhibits. 

National Society of the Colonial Dames - Waco Town Committee

The National Society of the Colonial Dames - Waco Town Committee is a leader in the field of historic preservation, restoration, and the interpretation of historic sites and sponsors scholarship programs and other historic preservation, patriotic service, and educational projects. The award recognizes the historical paper, exhibit, performance, or documentary that focuses upon persons or events during the colonial era of US history.

National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Elizabeth Gordon Bradley Chapter

NSDAR chapters strive to provide historical, educational, and patriotic services to their communities. The Elizabeth Gordon Bradley Chapter award recognizes one or two entries whose topics focus on people and/or events pertaining to the Revolutionary period in American history. Categories eligible for this award are junior and senior historical paper, junior and senior individual and group exhibit, junior and senior individual or group documentary, and junior and senior individual or group performance.

National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Henry Downs Chapter

NSDAR chapters strive to provide historical, educational, and patriotic services to their communities. The Henry Downs Chapter award recognizes the one best junior or senior individual documentary or junior or senior individual performance whose topic focuses on the period of the American Revolution, approximately 1776-1783.

Red Man Museum and Library

The Red Man Museum and Library preserves the history of the Improved Order of Red Men fraternal organization and Degree of Pocahontas. The award recognizes one best entry on American patriotism from among all junior and senior division categories, both individual and group.

Texas German Society - Heart of Texas Chapter

Texas German Society (TGS) seeks to preserve and encourage the German heritage, culture, and language of German-Texans and to continue these through communication, exchange, and good will with our fellow German-Americans and German people in other lands. The award recognizes one best junior or senior historical paper or individual or group exhibit that focuses on any German or Texas-German subject.

The Links, Inc., Waco Chapter

With a membership composed of professional women of color, The Links, Inc., is committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry. The award recognizes up to ten best exhibits, group or individual, fifth grade, junior, or senior divisions, that focuses on the historical impact of women or persons of African descent on America or other countries. Projects nominated for this award must demonstrate the following characteristics: 1) the reason or cause of the historical change; 2) the goal of the movement, including the process of striving to reach the goal and was it achieved; 3) the historical impact of the event or movement on the lives of people in the city, state, or country; 4) the quality of the research techniques used to document historical events; and 5) the ability of participants to verbalize information during the interview process.

The Texas Collection

Baylor University’s oldest special collections library and the repository for the University Archive, The Texas Collection collects, preserves, and provides access to materials on the history, heritage, and culture of Texas. The award recognizes one or two best junior or senior historical papers or individual or group documentaries or exhibits that display the best use of Texas primary source materials. Sources must be used in the presentation and noted on the annotated bibliography.

Waco Cotton Palace

Waco Cotton Palace, Inc. seeks to preserve the history of the city, particularly the time when Waco was known as the world’s “Cotton Capital.” Each year, Waco Cotton Palace stages an elaborate production that recognizes significant people in Waco’s history and important milestones, from its founding through the present day. The award recognizes the best individual entry, across all categories, that focuses on Texas history or significant milestones in the area of agriculture.

W.R. Poage Legislative Library

The W. R. Poage Legislative Library supports programs designed to inform and educate citizens on the history of Congress, the legislative process, and current issues facing both local, state, and national governments. The library encourages the preservation of materials that document the work of government and supports programs that make those materials available for educational and research use. The award recognizes the entry in the historical paper category, in both the junior and senior divisions, that best highlights citizens exercising their rights in the democratic process.