Council Bluffs Student Medals at National History Day Contest

    DES MOINES – Twelve Iowa students took top honors and special awards at the 2017 National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland last week.

    Mia Kawamitsu of Abraham Lincoln High School in Council Bluffs led this year's group of student competitors from Iowa as a medalist for her second place finish with "A Ray of Hope" in the Senior Individual Documentary category. Students from Cedar Rapids, Johnston, North Scott-Eldridge and Nashua-Plainfield also earned top honors in various categories.

    “Iowans can be proud of all of our students who competed in local, state and national contests as part of the National History Day program," said Susan Kloewer, administrator of the State Historical Society of Iowa. "We especially congratulate Mia and our other national finalists for their achievements and we thank their teachers and parents for their support."

    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.” 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. About 600 of those students moved on to the state contest at the Iowa Event Center in Des Moines last month. Overall, Iowa sent 66 students to the national finals where they competed 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 for scholarships and prizes.

    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 list of this year’s National History Day medalists, finalists and special award recipients in the junior and senior divisions from Iowa follows:

    Medalist

    Senior Individual Documentary
    Mia Kawamitsu – Abraham Lincoln High School (Council Bluffs)
    A Ray of Hope
    Placed 2nd in the Country
    Teacher: Deb Masker

    Finalists

    Junior Individual Website
    Abigail Green – Harding Middle School (Cedar Rapids)
    Taking a Stand Against Child Labor: The National Child Labor Committee
    Placed 4th in the Country
    Teacher: Shannon Haas

    Senior Individual Documentary
    Akshaya Kumar – Johnston High School (Johnston)
    Leo Szilard: Standing Between Power and Principles
    Placed 9th in the Country
    Teacher: Sue Cline

    Senior Individual Performance
    Allie Tubbs – Johnston High School (Johnston)
    Fannie Lou Hamer: Taking a Stand Until Everyone is a First – Class Citizen
    Placed 5th in the Country
    Teacher: Sue Cline

    Senior Individual Exhibit
    Morgan Kapping – Nashua–Plainfield High School (Nashua)
    Taking a Stand With An Armband: Tinker v. Des Moines
    Placed 4th in the Country
    Teacher: Suzan Turner

    Senior Group Performance
    Jenna Willet and Hannah Belk – North Scott High School (Eldridge)
    Marian Anderson: A Voice For Equality Taking a Stand Against Racial Barriers
    Placed 4th in the Country
    Teacher: Gabby Parks

    Native American History Award

    Senior Group Website
    Lauren Fergus, Parul Srivatava, Obsee Abbajabal, Angela Cai and Marianne Aldrich
    Johnston High School (Johnston)
    A Population Imprisoned: Occupying Alcatraz and Taking a Stand for Native American Rights
    Teacher: Sue Cline

    Outstanding State Entry Awards

    Junior Individual Website
    Abigail Green – Harding Middle School (Cedar Rapids)
    Taking a Stand Against Child Labor: The National Child Labor Committee
    Teacher: Shannon Haas

    Senior Group Performance
    Jenna Willet and Hannah Belk – North Scott High School (Eldridge)
    Marian Anderson: A Voice For Equality Taking a Stand Against Racial Barriers
    Teacher: Gabby Parks

    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.

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    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. 

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