National History Day district competition begins March 4

For immediate release February 24, 2006



Contact: Jeff Morgan,, (515) 281-3858

DES MOINES – Iowa students in grades 6-12 will begin National History Day (NHD) district competitions next week, with trips to the state 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 encourages them to use primary, secondary, community and statewide resources on a subject of their choice related to an annual theme. The theme for 2006 is “Taking a Stand in History: People, Ideas, Events.”

“Nearly every year, we have more than 3,500 students competing in district competitons, with about 500 to 600 of them moving on to Des Moines for the state contest,” said Naomi Peuse, the state coordinator for National History Day in Iowa. “From that pool, 50 to 60 will be selected to attend the national event in June at the University of Maryland.”

Working individually or collaboratively in groups of two to five, students compete in a variety of categories, including papers, individual exhibits, group exhibits, individual documentaries, group documentaries, individual performances and group 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 and 5 may participate in the noncompetitive Iowa Youth Division.

The junior division state finals are scheduled for April 24 and the senior division state finals will be May 1 at the State Historical Building in Des Moines. State winners earn the right to compete at the national finals June 11-15 at the University of Maryland, with cash prizes up to $1,000 at stake. Last year, Iowa had four national winners.

In addition, NHD events in Iowa will include a gala on Friday, May 12 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Teachers, administrators and friends of history are invited. Reservations are $15 per person and can be made by contacting Naomi Peuse at 515-281-6860 or

NHD requires students to do the job of a historical detective by delving into primary sources, developing original historical conclusions, and presenting their work in a creative forum. In short, National History Day is designed to revolutionize the teaching and learning of history.

Overall, NHD has 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, the American Legion of Iowa Foundation and Cargill.

The schedule for National History Day in Iowa district competitions is:

March 4
Clear Lake AEA 267 Region
North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC)
500 College Drive, Mason City, Iowa
9-11:30 a.m.

March 4
Prairie lakes AEA 8, South
Manson Northwest Webster High School
1601 15th Street, Manson, Iowa
9 a.m.-noon

March 7
Grant Wood AEA 10
The History Center
615 1st Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Time to be determined

March 8
Prairie Lakes AEA 8, North
Iowa Lakes Community College
3200 College Drive, Emmetsburg, Iowa
9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

March 10
Western Hills AEA 12
Western Hills AEA
1520 Morningside Drive, Sioux City, Iowa
Time to be determined

March 11
Loess Hills AEA 13
Abraham Lincoln High School
1205 Bonham Avenue, Council Bluffs, Iowa
9 a.m. -1 p.m.

March 14
AEA 14
Graceland University
1 University Place, Lamoni, Iowa
10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

March 17
Southern Prairie AEA 15
Southern Prairie AEA
2814 N. Court Street, Ottumwa, Iowa
9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

March 18
Keystone AEA 1
Oelwein Middle School
300 12th Avenue SE, Oelwein, Iowa
9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

March 20
AEAs 9 & 16
St. Ambrose University
518 W. Locust Street, Davenport, Iowa
4 to 8:30 p.m.

March 23-24
Cedar Falls AEA 267 Region
Cedar Falls AEA
3712 Cedar Heights Drive, Cedar Falls, Iowa
1-3 p.m. on March 23
9 a.m.- 2 p.m. on March 24

March 25
Northwestern University
101 Seventh Street SW, Orange City, Iowa
8:30 a.m. to noon

March 29
Heartland AEA 11, East Region
Central College
812 University, Pella, Iowa
Time to be determined

March 30
Marshalltown AEA 267 Region
Marshalltown High School
1602 S. Second Avenue, Marshalltown, Iowa
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

March 31
Heartland AEA 11, West/Central Region
State Historical Building
600 E. Locust, Des Moines, Iowa
9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

More information about National History Day in Iowa is available at or by contacting Naomi Peuse at 515-281-6860 or

The State Historical Society of Iowa 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.


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