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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release June 22, 2011

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

32 Iowa students earn honors at 2011 National History Day contest

Akron-Westfield students earn first place in Junior Group Exhibit category

(DES MOINES) – A trio of Iowa students took top honors in their category and received Gold Medals last week at the 2011 Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland.

Danika Tindall, Ann Hedlund and Bailey Davis of Akron-Westfield Community School in Akron won for their exhibit “Wisconsin v. Yoder: Successful Debate of Freedom of Education.” The trio competed in the Junior Group Exhibit category. Twenty-nine other Iowa students earned honors at the NHD contest.

“Iowans can be very proud of the entire group of 69 students who represented our state last week,” Department of Cultural Affairs Director Mary Tiffany Cownie said. “They competed against nearly 2,700 other students from the United States, Guam, America Samoa, Department of Defense Schools in Europe, and Shanghai, China, for scholarships and prizes.”

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 was “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 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 is a list of Iowa students and projects that received national rankings in their respective categories:

Student(s) – Category (National Ranking)

Anastasia Hoffer – Junior Individual Performance (4)
The Debate of the SS St. Louis Leads to Tragic Consequences
Akron-Westfield Community School
Valorie Philips and Colleen Westergard

Desi Oltmanns, Cali Westergard, Lexi Hageman, Hannah Koele and Jessen Wood – Junior Group Performance (7)
Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do: The Debate Between Wets and Drys
Akron-Westfield Community School
Valorie Philips and Coleen Westergard

Danika Tindall, Ann Hedlund and Bailey Davis – Junior Group Exhibit (1), Gold Medal
Wisconsin v. Yoder: Successful Debate of Freedom of Education
Akron-Westfield Community School
Valorie Philips and Colleen Westergard

Shravya Pothula – Senior Historical Paper (10)
Gorbachev: Tearing Down the Wall, Building Diplomatic Relations
Rivermont Collegiate
Leigh Ann Schroeder

Rebekah Frese – Senior Individual Web Site (9)
When Pigs Fly: One Iowan’s Idea Forges Lasting Ties with Japan
Carlisle High School
Barb Cupp

Council Bluffs
Gage Weber and Jacob Kaufman – Group Web Site (14)
Nuclear Standoff: Thirteen Days the World Held Their Breath
Kirn Middle School
Deb Masker and Gail Brow

Aidan Spencer and Clara Kittleson – Senior Group Documentary (9)
Can You Homeschool Legally?
Decorah High School
Janelle Keune

Ansel Bare – Junior Individual Exhibit (7)
The Black Hawk War of 1832: Failed Diplomacy Over Frontier Ownership
North Scott High School
Chris Green

Allie Stutting and Alex Bare – Junior Group Exhibit (4)
“Talvisota, Jatkosota, Lapinsota” Failed Diplomacy in Finland
North Scott High School
Chris Green

Taylor Gehrls, Emily Bainter, Cydnie Carmody and Emma Hubner – Senior Group Exhibit (3) Bronze Medal
Tinker v. Des Moines: Protesting War, Debating the First Amendment
North Scott High School
Chris Green

Sarah Riedel – Senior Individual Exhibit (6)
Stuffing the Genie Back Into the Bottle: A Century of Diplomatic Efforts to Ban Chemical Weapons
North Scott High School
Chris Green

Shuda Jarboe – Junior Historical Paper (7)
Freedom of Speech: How Far Does it Go?
Johnston Middle School
Kathy Paul

Hannah Crooks and Sarah Henry – Junior Group Documentary (7)
The Equal Rights Amendment: Success from Defeat
Summit Middle School
Jessie Todd

Le Mars
David Barker – Junior Individual Documentary (9)
Britain’s Abolition Debate: Ending the Vile Trafficking in Human Flesh
Le Mars Middle School
Jeanne Rust

Le Mars
Ellen Meis – Junior Individual Web Site (4)
Tinker vs. Des Moines: Tinkering with the Limits of Student Rights
Le Mars Middle School
Jeanne Rust

Lindsey Riggan, Ashley Usher and Jeanne Edson – Senior Group Exhibit (4)
The Amish School Debate: God’s Law vs. Man’s Law
Nashua-Plainfield High School
Suzan Turner

Storm Lake
Katherine Schulz – Senior Individual Performance (6)
Diplomacy Held Hostage
Storm Lake High School—Independent
Susan Schulz


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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