Students Earn Medals at 2018 National History Day Contest in Maryland

    DES MOINES – Sixteen Iowa students took top honors and special awards at the 2018 National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland last week.

    Matthew Ding of Johnston High School and Abigail Poppe, Caleb Lines, Faith Carpenter, Jayne Levi and Morgan Kapping of Nashua-Plainfield High School took third place and earned medals in their respective categories while students from Akron-Westfield, Bettendorf, Eldridge, Estherville and Nevada also earned finalist and special awards honors.

    “National History Day is an incredibly challenging program that gives students opportunities to grow and develop skills that will serve them throughout their lives," State Historical Society of Iowa Administrator Susan Kloewer said. "Iowans can be especially proud of our National History Day students for their hard work and achievements this year. We congratulate our medalists and our other national finalists, and we thank their educators and families 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 was “Conflict and Compromise 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 2,100 advanced to compete in 12 different district contests. About 600 of those students moved on to the state contest at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines in April. Overall, Iowa sent 70 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 (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 important 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:

    Medalists

    Senior Paper
    Matthew Ding – Johnston High School
    "The Switch in Time that Saved Nine: The Supreme Court's Conflict and Compromise Concerning New Deal Legislation"
    Third Place
    Sue Cline

    Senior Group Website
    Abigail Poppe, Caleb Lines, Faith Carpenter and Jayne Levi – Nashua-Plainfield High School
    "The Iran Hostage Crisis: 444 Days of Diplomatic Failure"
    Third Place
    Suzan Turner

    Senior Individual Exhibit
    Morgan Kapping – Nashua-Plainfield High School
    "The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory: Fiery Conflict Sparks Compromise"
    Third Place
    Suzan Turner

    Finalists

    Senior Group Performance
    Cora Brant and Taylor Myers – Estherville Lincoln Center
    "Button Button: Conflict and Compromise in Muscatine Iowa"
    Eighth Place
    Jean Herrick

    Senior Individual Documentary
    Alexis Raleigh – North Scott High School
    "Conflicts of Misogyny Race and Class: Dolores Huerta's Uncompromising Stand for Farm Workers' Right's"
    Eighth Place
    Sue Claeys

    Junior Group Performance
    Cael Moffatt, Landon Schuknecht, Matthew Nielsen, Sam Philips and Sydney Parks – Akron-Westfield Community School
    "Iowa Cow War: Conflict in the Heartland"
    Seventh Place
    Val Philips

    Special Awards

    Junior Paper
    Isabelle Appel – Bettendorf Middle School
    "Lisa Meitner: Advancing Scientific Discovery in the Face of Conflicts Through Personal Sacrifice and Compromise"
    History of the Physical Sciences & Technology
    Deb Temperly

    Junior Individual Website
    Katelyn Khounsourath – Nevada Middle School
    "The Death of Vincent Chin: Tension between Asian and American Autoworkers"
    Asian-American History
    Randy Davis

    Outstanding State Entry Award

    Senior Individual Documentary
    Alexis Raleigh – Johnston High School
    "Conflicts of Misogyny Race and Class: Dolores Huerta's Uncompromising Stand for Farm Workers' Rights"
    Eighth Place
    Sue Claeys

    Junior Group Performance
    Cael Moffatt, Landon Schuknecht, Matthew Nielsen, Sam Philips and Sydney Parks – Akron-Westfield Community School
    "Iowa Cow War: Conflict in the Heartland"
    Seventh Place
    Val Philips

    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.

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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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