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State Historical Society of Iowa

66 students take top honors at National History Day in Iowa contest

May 11, 2017

DES MOINES – More than 60 students from across the state took top honors at the National History Day in Iowa contest this week, earning a trip to the National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland to compete for scholarships and prizes.

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 issues, ideas, people and events related to an annual theme. This year’s theme is “Taking a Stand in History.”

"National History Day is a powerful program that helps teachers and students engage in learning opportunities beyond the classroom," State Historical Society of Iowa Administrator Susan Kloewer said. "Through this program, students explore history and learn how to conduct high-level research as they develop their projects. These are skills they'll use during academic years and beyond as they become lifelong learners with successful careers. We congratulate our National History Day students and national qualifiers, and we thank their teachers and parents for their support."

This year's 66 national qualifiers included students from 21 different schools - a new record - plus two home-school students from Spencer. Schools represented include:

  • Akron-Westfield School
  • Ballard Middle School
  • Ballard High School
  • Clarinda Community School
  • Council Bluffs Lincoln High School
  • Decorah St. Benedict School
  • Cedar Rapids Franklin Middle School
  • Cedar Rapids Harding Middle School
  • Hassman Homeschool and Hunter Homeschool
  • Johnston Middle School
  • Johnston High School
  • Le Mars Community Middle School
  • Manson Northwest Webster Junior/Senior High School
  • Marshalltown High School
  • Nashua-Plainfield Schools
  • North Scott Junior High School
  • North Scott High School
  • Marion Oak Ridge Middle School
  • Storm Lake Middle School
  • Orange City Unity Christian High School
  • Waukee Prairieview School
  • Williamsburg Junior/Senior High School

Iowa’s state winners now move on to the 2017 National History Day Contest June 11-15 at the University of Maryland, where they will compete against nearly 3,000 students from the United States, Guam, American Samoa, Department of Defense Schools in Europe, and international schools in China, Korea and South Asia.

More than half a million middle and high school students around the world participate in the program annually. In Iowa, nearly 8,000 students participated at the school level and about 2,500 advanced to compete in 12 different district contests. The 66 winners announced today emerged from a field of about 600 students who competed in the state contest Monday at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.

The National History Day program includes a Junior Division (grades 6-8), Senior Division (grades 9-12), and a non-competitive Youth Division for students in grades 4-5. Students learn important literacy skills and how to conduct research using primary, secondary, community and statewide resources. Working individually or collaboratively in groups of two to five, they develop the following attributes that are critical for future success:

  • critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • research and reading skills
  • oral and written communication and presentation skills
  • self-esteem and confidence
  • a sense of responsibility for and involvement in the democratic process

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., and the History Channel.

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.