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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release April 21, 2011

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

34 Iowa students advance to National History Day national contest

Kathy Paul of Johnston Middle School named NHD Teacher of the Year

(DES MOINES) – Thirty-four Iowa students who competed in the National History Day in Iowa contest Monday advanced to the NHD National Contest in June at the University of Maryland.

The 34 students competed against 250 other Iowa students in grades 9-12 in the NHD in Iowa Senior Division contest at the State Historical Building in Des Moines. About 400 students in grades 6-8 will compete in the NHD in Iowa Junior Division contest Monday, May 2, 2011, also at the State Historical Building.

Students who advance from the senior and junior division contests will compete against 2,500 students from the United States, Guam, America Samoa, Department of Defense Schools in Europe, and Shanghai, China, June 12-16, 2011, at the 2011 Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest at the University of 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 2011 is “Debate & Diplomacy: Successes, Failures, Consequences.”

Working individually or collaboratively in groups of two to five, students compete in a variety of categories, including historical papers, individual and group exhibits, documentaries, performances and Web sites. Students in grades 9-12 compete in the senior division while students in grades 6-8 compete in the junior division. Students in grades 4-5 may participate in the non-competitive Iowa Youth Division.

In addition to discovering the world of the past, the NHD program 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 History Channel. More information about NHD in Iowa is available at www.iowahistory.org or by contacting Millie Frese at 515-281-6860 or millie.frese@iowa.gov.


Following are the NHD in Iowa Senior Division contest national qualifiers and alternates announced today:

(Title of Project)

Historical Paper
Abby Dockum
Debate Without Diplomacy: The 1968 Democratic Convention
Johnston Middle School
Kathy Paul

Shravya Pothula
Gorbachev: Tearing Down the Wall, Building Diplomatic Relations
Rivermont Collegiate
Leigh Ann Schroeder

Alternate: Elizabeth Koele
From One Man’s Dream to a National Treasure: Debate, Diplomacy and the Birth of the Smithsonian Institution
LeMars Community High School
Jeanne Rust

Individual Web Site
Rebekah Frese
When Pigs Fly: One Iowan’s Idea Forges Lasting Ties with Japan
Carlisle High School
Barb Cupp

Samantha Styler
Galileo and the Catholic Church: Eppur si muove
Alta Community High School
Kirsten Doebel

Alternate: Matt Pacha
The Cuban Missile Crisis: Diplomacy at the Brink
North Scott High School
Chris Green 

Group Web Site
Kaitlyn Aldrich and Sam Sparland
Roswell Garst and Nikita Khrushchev: Using Diplomacy in the Face of International Debate
Johnston High School
Sue Cline

Aditi Dinakar and Andrew Boge
India’s Night of Death: Bhopal’s Toxic Legacy
Johnston Middle School
Kathy Paul

Alternates: Divya Navi and Tripti Upreti
Conflict Between India and Pakistan
Ames High School

Individual Documentary
Emma Shipley
Tinker vs. Des Moines: Rights Behind the Schoolhouse Gate
Urbandale High School
Dawn Wendt

Gretchen Mohr
Diplomacy to feed a Nation: Herbert Hoover and the Commission for Relief in Belgium
North Scott High School
Chris Green

Alternate: Corbin Bundy
The Great Sit Down Strike of 1937
Akron-Westfield Community School
Valorie Philips and Colleen Westergard

 Group Documentary
Clara Kittleson and Aidan Spencer
Can You Homeschool Legally?
Decorah High School
Janelle Keune

Kelly Oeltjenbruns and Natalie Williams
The Fight to Fight
Southeast Webster-Grand High School
Janet Wills

Alternates: Jakob Arana and Ashley Raleigh
Waist Deep in the Big Muddy: The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour Censorship Debate
North Scott High School

Individual Performance
Danielle Barasel
Carrie Chapman Catt: Her formidable debate for human rights through diplomacy
Davenport Central High School
Gail Heninger

Katherine Schulz
Diplomacy Held Hostage
Storm Lake High School, Storm Lake High School-Independent
Storm Lake
Susan Schulz

Alternate: Greta Hayer
Mago: The Punic Wars from the Perspective of Hannibal’s Little Brother
Central Academy
Des Moines
Thomas Forsgren

Group Performance
Joann Weeks, Pavane Gorrepati, Christine Mbakwe and Meghana Pagadala
Raising the Gavel at Nuremburg: A Legacy of Colossal Failure or Diplomatic Success?
Rivermont Collegiate
Leigh Ann Schroeder

Mean Hageman, Megan Elsbernd, Mikayla Lien, Kennidee Devilbiss and Caitlin Holien
One Journey, Different Paths: Orphan Train Debated
South Winneshiek High School
Kristin Kriener

Alternates: Katie Black, Maggi Liebetrau, Mariah Grimm, and Eliza Kjar
National American Women Suffrage Association v. The National Woman’s Party Debating Strategies for Achieving Suffrage
Akron-Westfield Community Schools

Individual Exhibit
Taylor Bietzel
Diplomatically Debating the Details of the Final Solution: The Wannsee Conference
North Scott High School

Chris Green
Sarah Riedel
Stuffing the Genie Back Into the Bottle: A Century of Diplomatic Efforts to Ban Chemical Weapons
North Scott High School

Alternate: Suzan Turner
The Jungle: A Novel Aimed at the Public’s Heart that Hits it in the Stomach
Nashua-Plainfield High School
Suzan Turner

Group Exhibit
Emma Hubner, Taylor Gehrls, Emily Bainter and Cydnie Carmody
Tinker v. Des Moines: Protesting War Debating the First Amendment
North Scott High School
Chris Green

Ashley Usher, Lindsey Riggan and Jeanne Edson
The Amish School Debate: God’s Law vs. Man’s Law
Nashua Plainfield High School
Suzan Turner

Alternates: Hannah Van Zee, Megan Gibbons, Jordan Boge, and Pratyusha Bujimalla
League of Nations: The American Debate
Johnston Middle School
Kathy Paul

In addition, Kathy Paul of Johnston Middle School in Johnston, Iowa, was named National History Day Senior Division Teacher of the Year.


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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