The future of this society depends on the middle school and high school students of this generation. Without the help of teachers and adults, how are they expected to get to the lever of 21st century college and career ready skill that they are expected to have?

Starting in 1974, a competition called National History Day has been improving history education and the skill sets of students all over the United States. Many NHD teachers give examples and quotes of students who have improved greatly due to their participation in this contest. “History Day is the ultimate in integrated studies for content and skill development… it gives them an opportunity to question, explore and to think critically,” said Vicki Chase.

Including NHD into the curriculum of some classes like history and social studies can lead to progress in other classes and more success in the future. Studies have shown that NHD students benefit beyond the competition itself and surpass their peers in many important life attributes that include: determination in the work force, outside knowledge, ability to organize a report, communication and teamwork, and coming up with a research plan.

The NHD website explains that the grades 6-12 students who work on this year long competition become “writers, filmmakers, web-designers, playwrights, and artists” and they focus on creative expression and interpretation with their historical research. Students work hard to find information on a historical topic and are then able to present the information they learned in a way that makes them excited about the foundations of societies and communities.

Students and their families go to Nationals from all over the USA, Guam, African Samoa, and International schools in China, Korea, South Asia, and Central America, rounding up to about 3,000 people a year. This is a great opportunity to meet new people from different communities and take part in the excitement of learning about different places in the world.

This year’s Idaho State Coordinator, Lori Hickman, has rearranged the Idaho History Day website to make it easier to use and more accessible to everyone desiring to compete in this months-long, nation-wide activity. Now more students and their teachers may be able to explore a variety of interesting scholarships and future opportunities at the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day contest.

“Honestly, this competition has been so much fun for me. It is always a little stressful,  but the results are nice. We get to work on something that really makes us enthusiastic and involved for months in class, or alone, and then we get to present it. We make these original projects based on what we processed and are judged on what we did. I am looking forward to participating in 2017. It really is a great opportunity. And you make new friends!” Noelle Trammelle-Stone, a student from Liberty Charter School student says.  For more information on how to participate and what NHD is about, go to and click around.

2016 National Contest students showing their Idaho pride. (Idaho Historical Society)

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