Jan. 6, 2016


National History Day in Indiana Competition  

Matthew Durrett
kicked off 2017 with a challenge that has nothing to do with a typical New
Year’s resolution.


As coordinator of
educational outreach for National History Day in Indiana, Durrett has
challenged himself — and his team — to recruit more IPS students to participate
in the annual National History Day in Indiana contest. He’s working with IPS to
reach his goal.


In 2016, four IPS
schools out of a total of 52 Indiana schools participated in the Indiana
contest.National History Day in Indiana Competition


“Last year, 400 students from Arsenal Tech, Shortridge and Northwest
high schools and Meredith Nicholson School 96 all participated,” said Durrett,
who is also coordinator for the Indiana
Historical Society
(IHS). “Students from
Tech, Shortridge and Meredith Nicholson all made it to the state contest, and
had several runner-up finishers to serve as alternates for the national


National History Day in Indiana is a district competition that’s part
of the larger National History Day (NHD), a yearlong program for sixth to
12th-grade students across the country that challenges them to do
the work of historians. Using research, analysis and presentation of a
student-chosen historical topic, youths present their projects through several
media formats: exhibits, documentaries, websites, papers and performances.


NHD includes district,
regional, state and national rounds of competition. The IPS regional contest is
March 15 at the Indiana Historical Society. The National History Day in Indiana
state contest is May 6 at Ivy Tech Community College’s downtown campus in


There’s still time
for local schools and students to participate. And, as an assist to IPS
schools, Durrett said the
Historical Society provides direct classroom support and funding for
supplies for teachers and students participating in National History Day in
Indiana in 2017.


This year’s contest
theme is “Taking a Stand in History.”


“The theme will
challenge students to think critically about the past and is wide open for
students to use, but they are judged in part by how they adhere to it. ‘Taking
a Stand’ can be good or bad, successful or a failure,” said Durrett. … “As with
a science fair exhibition, students will research, analyze, synthesize and
present their findings.”


NHD includes three contest divisions: Youth (Grades 4-5),
Junior (Grades 6-8) and Senior (Grades 9-12). Students in these divisions can
enter projects in the following categories as an individual or as a group of
two to five students: Paper (individual only), Website, Exhibit, Documentary or
Performance. Finalists from each division and category receive medals and
advance to the next level of competition. Youth (Grades 4-5) do not attend the national
contest. The top finalists, roughly 25 percent of entries from each category, will
be selected for the state competition.


“NHD helps students understand research and academic
arguments, and gives essential skills for college success,” said David Todd, humanities
instructor at Shortridge International Baccalaureate High School. “The benefits
also include students finding their own historical interests and researching
primary and secondary sources that support their thesis. Also, scholars compete
against other Indiana state high school students at regional and state
competitions. This gives the student more accountability and prepares them for
the modern workplace.”


Established in 1974, the National History Day encourages
more than half-a-million middle and high school students around the world to
conduct original research on historical topics of interest. The top two winning
projects from every contest category are invited to the Kenneth E. Behring
National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland exhibition June 11-15.


Studies have shown that students who participate in NHD are
better writers, perform better on standardized tests and in school, and show
improved attitudes on subjects where interest would otherwise wane. More info
on why NHD works can be found here.


“NHD strengthened my abilities inside the classroom and out,
pushing me to learn things I never would have thought about before,” said Carrita
F., a sophomore at Shortridge International Baccalaureate High School.


To register for the 2017 NHD program, request more
information or set up a classroom or library visit, contact Matthew Durrett at 317.233.9559.