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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release May 4, 2010

Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

32 Iowa students earn trip to National History Day national contest

(DES MOINES) – Thirty-two Iowa students who competed in Monday’s National History Day in Iowa junior division (grades 6-8) contest have advanced to the 2010 National History Day Contest in Maryland.

They join 24 other students from last week’s NHD in Iowa senior division (grades 9-12) contest who will represent Iowa at the 2010 Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest June 13-17, 2010, at the University of Maryland.

The contingent of 56 Iowa students will compete against nearly 2,500 students from the United States, Guam, America Samoa, Department of Defense Schools in Europe, and Shanghai, China, for scholarships and prizes.

“Every year, thousands of Iowa students compete in National History Day contests in their schools, with winners advancing to district and state levels,” Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Director Cyndi Pederson said. “We are very proud of all of these students, and we wish our national qualifiers well next month in Maryland.”

National History Day is an academic-enrichment program that helps students learn about historical issues, ideas, people and events. The year-long academic adventure fosters students’ enthusiasm for learning and encourages them to use primary, secondary, community and statewide resources on a subject of their choice related to an annual theme. The theme for 2010 is “Innovation in History: Impact and Change.”

Working individually or collaboratively in groups of two to five, students compete in a variety of categories, including papers, Web sites, and individual and group exhibits, documentaries, and performances.

Students in grades 6-8 compete in the junior division while students in grades 9-12 compete in the senior division. Students in grades 4-5 may participate in the noncompetitive Iowa Youth Division.

In addition to discovering the world of the past, NHD helps students 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 NHD program in Iowa has been coordinated by the State Historical Society of Iowa since 1994 and is sponsored by the State Historical Society, Inc., and the Polk County Historical Society. More information about NHD in Iowa is available at


Akron-Westfield Middle School received recognition as school of the year. Storm Lake Middle School received runner-up and Kirn Junior High School of Council Bluffs earned third place. Peg Beatty of Decorah Middle School was named National History Day in Iowa junior division Teacher of the Year.

Following are the NHD in Iowa junior division winners announced Monday:

(Title of Project)

Historical Paper
Tyler Ronca
Louis Braille: Giving the Treasure of Sight to the Blind
Ballard Junior High School
Huxley, Iowa
Alison Peterson

Jarod Ernst
Evolution Through Natural Selection: Impacting Science and Changing Culture
Le Mars Middle School
Le Mars, Iowa
Jeanne Rust

Individual Exhibit
Tia Frey
George Washington Carver: The Perfect Peanut Plan to Fight Southern Poverty
Kirn Junior High School
Council Bluffs, Iowa
Debora Masker

Brad Fane
Herbert Hoover: A Logistical Genius Changing a Hungry World
Southeast Polk Junior High School
Pleasant Hill, Iowa
Kathy Wikert

Group Exhibit
Lindsey Hassman and Carly Kielman
The Sewing Machine: Impacting History One Stitch at a Time
Home School
Marshalltown, Iowa
Karen Hassman
Chandra DeRocher, Ryleigh Schnell and Kelcie Wakeman
Martha Graham’s Dance: Innovation that Changed the World of Dance
Akron−Westfield Community School
Akron, Iowa
Valorie Philips, Colleen Westergard

Individual Documentary
Joshua Neumann
The Roots of the Cure: Mustard Gas and Chemotherapy
Storm Lake Middle School
Storm Lake, Iowa
Linda Hecht

Rebecca Lair
Innovations in the Eradication of Polio
Estherville Lincoln Central Middle School
Estherville, Iowa
Jean Hoffman

Group Documentary
Corbin Bundy, Bethany Eastman and Eliza Kjar
Devil’s Rope: The Wire that Fenced the West
Akron−Westfield Community School
Akron, Iowa
Valorie Philips, Colleen Westergard

Laura Klever, Ian Ehrecke and Allison Coe
Stairsteps of the Mississippi River: An Innovative Method to Tame a Wild River
North Scott Junior High School
Eldridge, Iowa
Chris Green

Individual Performance
Emily Meerdink
The Innovative Beginning of Conservation in America: The Lacey Acts
Akron−Westfield Community School
Akron, Iowa
Valorie Philips, Colleen Westergard

Maria Mertzenich
Eleanor Roosevelt: First Lady of the World
Decorah Middle School
Decorah, Iowa
Janelle Keune, Meg Storkamp and Peg Beatty

Group Performance
Kennidee DeVilbiss, Megan Hageman, Megan Elsbernd, Caitlin Holien and Mikayla Lien
Prosthetic Limbs: Impacting People’s Mobility
St. Francis De Sales School
Ossian, Iowa
Denise Krauskopf

Lexi Hageman, Kortney Hedlund, Hannah Koele, Desi Oltmanns and Cali Westergard
The Golden Age of Radio: Changing America with the Turn of the Dial
Akron−Westfield Community School
Akron, Iowa
Valorie Philips and Colleen Westergard

Web Sites
Paige Plate and Hanna Bell
Factory Safety Regulations: From the Ashes of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire
Nevada Middle School
Nevada, Iowa
Karen Ross

Ben Cuvelier
The Global Impact of Fast Food
Dike−New Hartford Junior High School
New Hartford, Iowa
Kathy Sundstedt


The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and is a trustee of Iowa's historical legacy and an advocate for understanding Iowa's past. It identifies, records, collects, preserves, manages and provides access to Iowa's historical resources. Its dual mission of preservation and education serves Iowans of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates information, and encourages and supports historical preservation and education efforts of others throughout the state. Visit www.iowahistory.org or call 515-281-5111 for more information.


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