Iowa students to participate in National History Day state competition

For immediate release April 26, 2007


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

(DES MOINES) – More than 500 Iowa students will converge at the State Historical Building Monday and May 7 to compete in the National History Day state competition, with a trip to the national competition at the University of Maryland and college scholarships 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 2007 is “Triumph & Tragedy in History.”

“Nearly every year, we have more than 3,500 students competing in district competitions, 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, web sites, 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 Monday and the senior division state finals will be May 7 at the State Historical Building in Des Moines. State winners earn the right to compete at the national finals June 10-14 at the University of Maryland, with cash prizes up to $1,000 at stake.

Last year, Stephen Frese of Marshalltown received the Grand Prize at the National History Day awards ceremony – a four-year, full tuition scholarship to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio valued at more than $100,000. Eight more Iowa students earned additional honors.

In addition, NHD events in Iowa will include a gala 5:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 18 at the State Historical Building. 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

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, Inc., of Iowa City, and the American Legion of Iowa Foundation.

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. The 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

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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