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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release June 15, 2012

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

13 Iowa students earn honors at 2012 National History Day contest

Council Bluffs, Eldridge, Le Mars and Nashua students receive recognition

DES MOINES – Thirteen Iowa students – including nine from North Scott-Eldridge schools – received top honors and recognition this week at the 2012 Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland.

Ansel Bare of North Scott Junior High School took second place in the Junior Individual Exhibit category for “The Armia Krajowa: A Revolution Under Hitler’s Nose.” He received a Silver Medal and $500.

Gretchen Mohr of North Scott High School received the Salute to Freedom Award in the Senior Group Documentary for “Igniting Reaction, Promoting Reform: Iowa’s Revolutionary Refugee Resettlement Program.” Mohr received an all-expense paid trip to New Orleans to represent Iowa at the Grand Opening of The National WW II Museum’s U.S. Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center.

“This group of 63 students represented our state very well this week, and Iowans can be very proud of them,” said Millie Frese, coordinator of the NHD in Iowa program. “They competed against nearly 2,800 other students from the United States, Guam, America Samoa, Department of Defense School 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 2012 is “Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History.”

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 DCA’s 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 and awards in their respective categories:

Student(s) – Category (National Ranking/Award)

Council Bluffs
Abigail Brickley – Junior Historical Paper (Outstanding Iowa Award Junior Division)
Iowa Cow Wars: Farmers’ Revolt Against Being Forced to Test
Lewis Central Middle School
Lorraine Duitsman

Gretchen Mohr – Senior Group Documentary (Salute to Freedom Award)
(Project Partner: Dexter Golinghorst)
Igniting Reaction, Promoting Reform: Iowa’s Revolutionary Refugee Resettlement Program
North Scott High School
Chris Green

Ali Watkins and Allie Stutting – Junior Group Performance (9th Place)
Nellie Bly: Revolutionizing Journalism, Awakening Reaction, Necessary Social Reform
North Scott Jr. High School
Chris Green

Ansel Bare – Junior Individual Exhibit (2nd Place – Silver medal & $500)
The Armia Krajowa: A Revolution Under Hitler’s Nose
North Scott Jr. High School
Chris Green

Taylor Beitzel – Senior Individual Exhibit (4th Place)
A Revolution to Cleanse Germany: The Handicapped Holocaust
North Scott High School
Chris Green

Taylor Gehrls, Emma Hubner, Emily Bainter, and Cydnie Carmody – Senior Group Exhibit (11th Place)
Scattergood Hostel: Revolutionary Concept to Reform Lives Of Refugees
North Scott High School
Chris Green

Le Mars
Chloe Evans – Junior Historical Paper (5th Place, and “History of Agriculture and Rural Life” special award)
The Farmers’ Holiday Movement: A Reaction and Revolution in Farm History
Le Mars Middle School
Jeanne Rust

Jeanne Edson and Katie Karels – Senior Group Exhibit (Outstanding Iowa Award Senior Division)
Norman Borlaug: Humanitarian’s Hybrids Feed the Hungry
Nashua-Plainfield High School
Suzan Turner

(Exhibit was selected for display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History on June 13. Edson and Karels spent the day at NMAH with their exhibit, answering questions from the public about Borlaug.)



The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is responsible for developing the state’s interest in the areas of the arts, history and other cultural matters with the advice and assistance from its two divisions: the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Iowa Arts Council. DCA preserves, researches, interprets and promotes an awareness and understanding of local, state and regional history and stimulates and encourages the study and presentation of the performing and fine arts and public interest and participation in them. It implements tourism-related art and history projects as directed by the General Assembly and designs a comprehensive, statewide, long-range plan with the assistance of the Iowa Arts Council to develop the arts in Iowa. More information about DCA is available at www.culturalaffairs.org.


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