More than 60 students from across the state took top honors at the National History Day in Iowa contest this week, earning a trip to the NHD National Finals at the University of Maryland to compete for scholarships and prizes.


National History Day is a year-long academic enrichment program that challenges students to research, develop and present papers, exhibits, documentaries, websites and performances about historical issues, ideas, people and events related to an annual theme. This year’s theme is “Taking a Stand in History.”


“National History Day is a powerful program that helps teachers and students engage in learning opportunities beyond the classroom,” State Historical Society of Iowa Administrator Susan Kloewer said. “Through this program, students explore history and learn how to conduct high-level research as they develop their projects. These are skills they’ll use during academic years and beyond as they become lifelong learners with successful careers. We congratulate our National History Day students and national qualifiers, and we thank their teachers and parents for their support.”


Ballard Middle School student Audra Jahn will advance in the category of Junior Individual Documentary. The title of her presentation is “Small but Mighty: The Birmingham Children’s Crusade of 1963. Grace Long, representing Ballard High School, is a Senior National Qualifier. Her Senior History Paper is titled “Harriet Beecher Stowe: Lifting her pen to take a stand against slavery.”


Iowa’s state winners now move on to the 2017 National History Day Contest, June 11-15, at the University of Maryland, where they will compete against nearly 3,000 students from the United States, Guam, American Samoa, Department of Defense Schools in Europe, and international schools in China, Korea and South Asia.


The National History Day in Iowa program has been coordinated by the State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, since 1994 and is sponsored by the State Historical Society, Inc., and the History Channel.