The Road to National History Day State Finals Continues

For immediate release March 5, 2005



Contact: Naomi Peuse, (515) 281-6860,

(DES MOINES, Iowa) – Iowa school children in grades 6 -12 are competing this month in National History Day district competitions, with trips to the state and national finals on the line.

National History Day is an exciting 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 their love for history.

The program encourages students to use primary, secondary, community and statewide resources on a subject of their choice related to the annual theme. The theme for 2005 is “Communication in History: The Key to Understanding.”

“Nearly every year, we have 500 to 600 Iowa school children in Des Moines for the state contest,” the State Historical Society of Iowa’s Naomi Peuse said. “From that pool, 50 to 60 will be selected to attend the national event in June at the University of Maryland.”

Iowa’s first district competition was held February 26, 2005, in Mason City. Additional district competitions are scheduled for:

Date: Tuesday, March 8
Location: The History Center, Cedar Rapids
Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sponsor: The History Center

Date: March 10
Location: Iowa Central Community College, Fort Dodge
Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sponsor: Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency

Date: Friday, March 11
Location: Western Hills Area Education Agency, Sioux City
Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sponsor: Hills Area Education Agency

Date: Saturday, March 12
Location: Abraham Lincoln High School, Council Bluffs
Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sponsor: Area Education Agency 13

Date: Monday, March 14
Location: St. Ambrose University, Roglaski Center, Davenport
Time: 3 to 8:30 p.m.
Sponsor: St. Ambrose University, History Department

Date: Tuesday, March 15
Location: Marshalltown Community College, Marshalltown
Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sponsor: Marshalltown High School

Date: Tuesday, March 15
Location: Graceland University, Graceland Memorial Student Union, Lamoni
Time: 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Sponsor: Graceland University

Date: Friday, March 18
Location: Southern Prairie Area Education Agency, Ottumwa
Time: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sponsor: Southern Prairie Area Education Agency

Date: Saturday, March 19
Location: Northwestern College, Orange City
Time: 8 a.m. to Noon
Sponsor: Area Education Agency 4

Date: Saturday, March 19
Location: Oelwein Junior High School, Oelwein
Time: 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Sponsor: Keystone Area Education Agency

Date: Tuesday, March 22
Location: Iowa Lakes Community College, Emmetsburg
Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sponsor: Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency

Date: Wednesday, March 30
Location: Central College, Graham Conference Center, Pella
Time: 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sponsor: Central College

Date: April 4 & April 5
Location: Area Education Agency 267, Cedar Falls
Time: (April 4th) 1 to 3 p.m., (April 5th) 8:15 to 11:30 a.m.
Sponsor: Area Education Agency 267

Date: Tuesday, April 5
Location: State Historical Building, Des Moines
Time: 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Sponsor: Heartland Area Education Agency

Working individually or collaboratively in groups of 2 to 5, students produce historical documentaries, exhibits, dramatic performances, or historical papers. Students in grades 6 through 12 may choose to participate in the national event cycle by presenting their research at a competitive series of local, district, state, and national events. Students in grades 4 and 5 may participate in the noncompetitive Iowa Youth Division.

National History Day promotes a number of skills that students need for a successful future.

History Day:

  • builds research, comprehension, critical thinking, and presentation skills
  • integrates the arts, social sciences, and other disciplines into an historical presentation
  • fosters pride in and understanding of local, state, national, and world heritage
  • develops creativity, improves self-esteem and a positive experience of history and learning
  • is the number one reason students benefit from NHD: National History Day makes learning fun

The National History Day program provides teachers an innovative teaching tool to teach important skills in a fun and engaging format. NHD requires students to do the job of a historical detective. Participants must delve into primary sources, develop original historical conclusions, and present their work in a creative forum. In short, National History Day is designed to revolutionize the teaching and learning of history.

NHD also promotes continuing education opportunities for teachers. Introductory and training workshops are offered by both the state and the national staff, as well as several district History Day programs.

Overall, National History Day as several primary objectives:

  • To provide history teachers with an innovative teaching tool.
  • To assist teachers and schools in meeting educational standards which require outcome-based learning activities.
  • To encourage the study of history by teaching students to express themselves creatively through presentations of historical topics and materials in a variety of formats.
  • To interest students in learning about history by integrating the materials and methods of social studies, art, literature, language, and music into their entries.
  • To develop research and reading skills and to refine presentation skills in writing, visual projects, and performances.
  • To develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills that will help students manage and use information effectively now and in the future.
  • To encourage students to develop a sense of history as a process and change, a multifaceted development over time that affects every aspect of human life and society.
  • To get students out of the school building and into the community, investigating local history.
  • To involve parents and other members of the community in students' education.
  • To expose students to new and exciting educational environments by holding contests on college campuses and at historical societies.
  • To help create better educated citizens.
  • To prepare the next generation of Iowa scholars and employees.
  • To aid teachers, parents, and schools in their efforts to provide educational opportunities for their children.

The National History Day in Iowa program has been coordinated by the State Historical Society of Iowa since 1994. Major funding comes from the State Historical Society of Iowa, Inc. of Iowa City, a federal earmark, and Cargill. The NHD in Iowa staff may be reached at:

National History Day in Iowa
State Historical Society of Iowa
600 E. Locust
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
Phone: (515) 281-6860
Fax: (515) 282-0502



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