Official State of Iowa Website Here is how you know
State Historical Society of Iowa

63 Iowa students earn honors at National History Day contest

May 5, 2021

Students came from virtually everywhere in Iowa to compete online in this year's National History Day in Iowa state contest.

For the second straight year, the contest moved to an online format due to the coronavirus pandemic. From a field of 362 participants in the state contest, 63 students took top honors and advanced to the national contest, where they will compete online in June for scholarships and prizes.

"National History Day is a challenging program that provides Iowa students opportunities to grow and develop skills that will serve them throughout their lives," said Susan Kloewer, administrator of the State Historical Society of Iowa. "We congratulate our national finalists and wish them all the best as they represent our state at the national level.”

National History Day is a year-long academic enrichment program that challenges students to research, develop and present papers, exhibits, documentaries, websites and performances about historical topics related to an annual theme. This year’s theme is “Communication in History: The Key to Understanding.”

Students compete in a Junior Division (grades 6-8), Senior Division (grades 9-12), and a non-competitive Youth Division (grades 4-5). Students learn important literacy skills and how to conduct research using primary, secondary, community and statewide resources. Working individually or in small groups, participants learn how to conduct research, think critically and communicate through various formats. They also build self-esteem, confidence and a sense of responsibility for and involvement in the democratic process.

More than half a million middle and high school students around the world participate in the program each year. This year in Iowa, thousands of students participated in local and district contests. This year's national qualifiers from Iowa hail from the following 21 schools:

  • Akron-Westfield Middle School
  • Ames High School
  • Ames Middle School
  • Bettendorf Middle School
  • Bettendorf Rivermont Collegiate
  • Carroll High School
  • Carroll Middle School
  • Cedar Rapids Franklin Middle School
  • Cedar Rapids Harding Middle School
  • Cedar Rapids Taft Middle School
  • Cedar Rapids Washington High School
  • Council Bluffs Kirn Middle School
  • Council Bluffs Lewis Central Middle School
  • Decorah St. Benedict School
  • Dike New Hartford High School
  • Johnston High School
  • Nashua-Plainfield Middle School
  • North Scott High School
  • Orange City Unity Christian High School
  • Storm Lake Middle School
  • Williamsburg Junior/Senior High School

The National History Day in Iowa program has been coordinated by the State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, since 1994 and is sponsored by the State Historical Society, Inc., Principal Financial Group and Bravo Greater Des Moines.

More information is available at

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and its three divisions – the Iowa Arts Council, Produce Iowa - State Office of Media Production and the State Historical Society of Iowa – empower Iowa to build and sustain culturally vibrant communities by connecting Iowans to the people, places and points of pride that define our state. The department’s work enables Iowa to be recognized as a state that fosters creativity and serves as a catalyst for innovation where the stories of Iowa are preserved and communicated to connect past, present and future generations.