WASHINGTON, D.C.—Middle and high school students from around the world are traveling to the nation’s capital to compete in National History Day®’s annual Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest. Held June 12–16 at the University of Maryland, College Park, this contest represents the national finals for affiliate level contests held in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Central America, China, Korea, and South Asia. Each year, more than 600,000 students around the world create historical research projects in one of five categories: documentaries, exhibits, papers, performances, or websites. Projects are prepared based upon an annual theme; the 2016 theme is Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History. After presenting these projects at the local, regional, and affiliate level, the top entries are invited to the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest.

The judging is broken down by age, category, and group or individual. All categories have a junior (middle school) and senior (high school) division. Each category, aside from papers, also has a group and an individual category. First, second, and third place awards are presented to the top entries in each category and division. First place awards are sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and those students earn the designation, NEH Scholar.

In addition to category awards, there are scholarships, outstanding affiliate entry awards, and special prizes. Three high school participants will receive full or partial scholarships from Case Western Reserve University, Chaminade University, and the University of Maryland, College Park. These awards are chosen by representatives of the universities. Two entries from each NHD affiliate receive an “Outstanding Affiliate Entry” award sponsored by the National Park Service. Numerous special prizes are awarded through the generous sponsorship of individuals, groups, and organizations. For a list of all special prizes, visit

“Less than 1% of all entries make it to the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest,” said National History Day® Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “The level of research and presentation of the students at this level is astounding. They truly represent the best and brightest minds of the next generation.”

As well as student prizes, two awards are presented to top teachers. The Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award is given to one middle school and one high school teacher for demonstration of exemplary teaching in the classroom. Each recipient also receives a $10,000 prize funded by Patricia Behring.

Throughout the duration of the contest, numerous programs are available for students to take advantage of the history and culture in Washington, D.C. One of the events open to the public is National History Night at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History Kenneth E. Behring Center. Each affiliate chooses one exhibit entry for display at the Museum on Wednesday, June 17 from 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. This event allows the public to view a selection of the projects in the exhibit category. From 5-7 p.m., the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History hosts “National History Night,” an open house for participants, teachers, and families to discuss their projects.

The awards ceremony is on Thursday, June 16 from 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. at the Xfinity Center at the University of Maryland. The ceremony begins with a colorful parade of all affiliates and is live-streamed on by Skehan Communications LLC. Following the ceremony, awards will be announced via National History Day® social media outlets and posted on

Founded in 1974, at Case Western Reserve University, National History Day® has grown from a contest of a few hundred students to a multi-national educational organization promoting the appreciation of history education. More than half a million students, who are guided by more than 30,000 teachers, utilize the projectbased learning that is central to the National History Day® Contest.

About National History Day: NHD 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
Press Release