Press/Journalists

Press Release
May 3, 2007

National Archives Sponsors DC Students in National History Day Competition

Washington, DC…On Saturday, April 28, 2007, the National Archives sponsored more than 150 outstanding students representing seven different DC schools who participated in the city-wide National History Day contest. The students in grades 6-12 competed at Howard University in two divisions (junior and senior) and presented projects in four categories, including performance, documentary, exhibit, and historical paper. All of the projects related to the theme “Triumph and Tragedy in History.”

This was the first year that the city-wide program and contest were coordinated by the National Archives in partnership with Howard University. The Foundation for the National Archives generously contributed financial support to the program.

Coached by 15 dedicated teachers, the students focused on topics ranging from Dance Marathons of the 1930s to Mary McLeod Bethune, from B.B. King to the Lincoln Theater, from the WPA to Blackbeard the Pirate, and much more. For many of the students, their research began last fall.

A team of more than 30 judges, many of whom are employees of the National Archives, evaluated the student projects for their historical accuracy, relationship to the theme, clarity of presentation, and rules compliance. Sarah Withem, a graduate student at George Washington University, National Archives intern, and a first-time judge, especially enjoyed interviewing the students about their projects. She remarked “It is inspiring to see young students engaged in historical thinking.”

Courtney Speaker, also a graduate student and an intern with the White House Historical Association, judged the exhibits and explained, “I was impressed with the amount of creativity, research, and hard work that the students put into their projects.”

The standing room only crowd of students, parents, and teachers who returned at the end of the day to the Blackburn building on Howard’s campus listened to remarks by Professor Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States; Dr. Joseph P. Reidy, Associate Provost of Howard University; and Dr. Cathy Gorn, Executive Director of National History Day. The three commended the students for their hard work and enthusiasm. They also encouraged the students to continue studying history and to continue sharing their interest in it with others.

The crowd also learned the names of the 42 students who will represent the District of Columbia at the nation-wide National History Day contest to be held in College Park, MD, June 10-14, 2007.

At the end of the full day, Missy McNatt, an education specialist at the National Archives and the DC-NHD program coordinator concluded, “This has been a successful event thanks to the involvement of so many people including the students, teachers, parents, and judges. It could not have happened without the support of Howard University, the National Archives, and the Foundation for the National Archives. I am excited about next year!”

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For more information about the DC-National History Day program and the city wide contest, contact Missy McNatt at missy.mcnatt@nara.gov. For more information on the National History Day Program, visit www.nationalhistoryday.org. See the Results for the DC National History Day Competition.

For Press information contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

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