WASHINGTON, D.C—Around the world middle and high school students are taking their learning beyond the textbook with the annual National History Day Contest. This project-based contest provides students an opportunity to demonstrate their historical research skills through one of five categories: documentary, exhibit, paper, performance and website. Guided by an annual theme, students are encouraged to choose a topic that matches their personal interests. The 2017 theme is Taking A Stand in History. Students enter their projects in local level contests, with the top entries advancing to regional, state/affiliate, and national levels. Along the way, students compete for honors, awards, and thousands of dollars in scholarships. The best entries from around the world will be invited to the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest in June 2017 at the University of Maryland at College Park.

“The National History Day Contest requires extensive research and really hones a student’s critical thinking skills,” said NHD Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “Each participant spends countless hours researching, creating, and revising their project. Since 1974, this contest has been helping students develop skills that help them in all facets of life from time management to public speaking.”

An independent study on the impact of the National History Day Contest found that students who actively participate outperform their counterparts in all levels of academia, including standardized tests. Participants also expressed greater confidence with research, communication, and analytical skills. More information on this study is available at

To assist students and teachers throughout the year, National History Day® has developed a number of free resources.

Taking a Stand in History: Contest Theme Book 2017
o This booklet explains the National History Day Contest theme and offers instructional insight for teachers on how to best incorporate the 2017 contest theme in classroom materials as well as sample topics for students.
How to Create a Project
o The first step for any student is creating a project. This page guides students through the steps to create a National History Day Contest entry.
Annotated Bibliography
o Each project must include an annotated bibliography and this resource is provided to assist with correct citation and bibliographical practice in a format designed to be accessible to middle and high school students.
o This resource helps students learn about each of the five categories and includes examples from previous contest winners.
Teacher Resources
o From lesson plans to workbooks this page hosts a multitude of resources for promoting history education in classrooms.

More than half a million students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, and international schools in China, Korea, and South Asia will create projects for the National History Day Contest. Many of the local and state/affiliate contests have public viewing of the projects and students are often eager to talk about their research and findings. A full list of National History Day® affiliates can be found here:

About National History Day®: National History Day® is a non-profit education organization in College Park, MD. Established in 1974, NHD offers year-long academic programs that engage over half a million middle- and high-school students around the world annually in conducting original research on historical topics of interest. These research-based projects are entered into contests at the local and affiliate levels, where the top student projects have the opportunity to advance to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park. NHD also seeks to improve the quality of history education by providing professional development opportunities and curriculum materials for educators. NHD is sponsored in part by Kenneth E. Behring, Patricia Behring, HISTORY®, Jostens, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Park Service, Southwest Airlines, the Joe Weider Foundation, and the WEM 2000 Foundation of the Dorsey & Whitney Foundation. For more information, visit


Lynne O'Hara
Director of Programs
Phone: 484-919-2595
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