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State Historical Society of Iowa

70 Students Take Top Honors at National History Day in Iowa Contest

May 3, 2018

DES MOINES – Seventy students from across the state took top honors at the National History Day in Iowa contest on Monday, earning a trip to the National History Day national contest at the University of Maryland in June 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 “Conflict and Compromise in History.”

"National History Day provides educators and students high-quality learning opportunities to explore and develop greater understanding of our history," State Historical Society of Iowa Administrator Susan Kloewer said. "Through this program, students learn how to conduct high-level research as they develop their projects allowing them to enhance skills that will benefit them not only during their academic years but beyond as lifelong learners. We congratulate our National History Day students and national qualifiers, and we thank their educators and families for their support."

This year's 70 national qualifiers include students from 18 different schools plus two home schools in Le Mars and Spencer. View a list of Iowa's national qualifiers and downloadable images of each. Schools represented include:

  • Akron-Westfield Community School
  • Alta-Aurelia High School
  • Ames Middle School
  • Bettendorf Middle School
  • Cedar Rapids Franklin Middle School
  • Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln High School
  • Council Bluffs Kirn Middle School
  • Decorah St. Benedict School
  • Eldridge North Scott High School
  • Eldridge North Scott Junior High School
  • Estherville Lincoln Central High School
  • Indianola Middle School
  • Johnston High School
  • Johnston Middle School
  • Le Mars Tilberg Christian Academy
  • Manson Northwest Webster High School
  • Marshalltown Miller Middle School
  • Nashua-Plainfield High School
  • Nevada Middle School
  • Spencer Hassman Homeschool

Iowa’s state winners now move on to the 2018 National History Day Contest June 10-14 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 2,100 advanced to compete in 12 different district contests. The 70 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 essential for future success:

  • critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • research and reading skills
  • oral and written comm
  • unication 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., Principal Financial Group and Bravo Greater Des Moines.

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.