Students from Decorah High School and St. Benedict’s School are in Maryland this week to compete in the National History Day Contest.
Five Decorah students are among 36 from Iowa competing in the National History Contest in the senior division. They advanced after earning top honors in a state history competition at the State Historical Museum of Iowa in Des Moines last month.
They are Gara Lonning, Naomi Davidson, Kalle Solberg, Katelyn Yee and Linnea Carlson. Their project is
“Night of Terror: The Battle for the Ballot” and their instructor is Gabe Twedt.
The 36 advancing students competed against nearly 250 other Iowa students in the NHD in Iowa Senior Division (grades 9-12) state competition.
Thirty-three students advanced from a field of 375 other Iowa students in the NHD Iowa Junior Division (grades 6-8) state competition also held at the State Historical Museum last month. St. Benedict’s students Abigail Toussaint and Emily Franzen are advancing with their junior group website project “Ensuring the Right of Education for Blacks: Brown vs. Board of Education.” Their teacher Patty Lien Patty Lien was named NHD in Iowa Junior Division Teacher of the Year and received a $500 award.
The students advancing to the national event will compete for scholarships and prizes against nearly 3,000 students from the United States, American Samoa, Guam, international schools and Department of Defense Schools in Europe at the 2014 Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland June 15-19.

National History Day is a year-long education program that engages students in the process of discovery and interpretation of historical topics. Students produce dramatic performances, imaginative exhibits, multimedia documentaries and research papers based on research related to an annual theme. The theme for 2014 is “Rights and Responsibilities in History. Projects are then evaluated at local, state, and national competitions.
The NHD program serves as a vehicle to teach students important literacy skills and to engage them in the use and understanding of museum and library resources. The program inspires students to study local history, and then challenges them to expand their thinking and apply knowledge of local events to the national, or even worldwide scene. The program also teaches students to become technologically literate through the use of computer and Internet research methods, and the use of technologically advanced applications in their presentations.