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67 Students Take Honors at National History Day in Iowa State Contest

May 6, 2019

DES MOINES – Sixty-seven students from across the state took top honors at the National History Day in Iowa state contest last week, 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 topics related to an annual theme. This year’s theme is “Triumph and Tragedy in History.”

"National History Day offers educators and students opportunities to explore and discover more about our history," State Historical Society of Iowa Administrator Susan Kloewer said. "Through this program, students learn how to do high-level research and create projects while developing skills that will help them become lifelong learners. We are very proud of our National History Day students and national qualifiers, and we congratulate them for their achievements."

This year's national qualifiers include students from 17 different schools:

  • Akron-Westfield Community School District
  • Ames Middle School
  • Bettendorf Middle School
  • Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln High School
  • Council Bluffs Lewis Central Middle School
  • Decorah Middle School
  • Decorah St. Benedict School
  • Dike-New Hartford High School
  • North Scott-Eldridge Junior High School
  • North Scott-Eldridge Senior High School
  • Johnston High School
  • Johnston Middle School
  • Manson Northwest Webster Junior/Senior High School
  • Marshalltown High School
  • Nashua-Plainfield High School
  • Sioux Rapids Sioux Central
  • Storm Lake High School

Iowa’s winners now move on to the national contest June 9-13 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 each year. In Iowa, nearly 8,000 students participated at the school level and about 2,000 advanced to district contests. The 67 national qualifiers announced today emerged from a field of about 600 students who competed in the state contest last week 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 (grades 4-5). Students learn important literacy skills and how to conduct research using primary, secondary, community and statewide resources. Working individually or 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 communication skills
  • 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, Bravo Greater Des Moines, Prairie Meadows and Luther College.

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.