Turning Conflict & Compromise Into Gold

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The stakes are high for young historians competing in the National History Day® Contest at the University of Maryland, College Park. Middle and high school students from around the world have been researching and revising their documentaries, exhibits, papers, performances, and websites. Now they’ve earned their place at the National Contest and will strive for History honors June 10-14.

The journey to the National Contest is arduous. First, students spend months researching and preparing projects related to the 2018 theme, Conflict & Compromise in History. They then compete in local contests, with top entries moving on to affiliate competitions held in every state, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, China, Korea, and South Asia. From there, the top two entries in each category are invited to Washington, D.C.

Each history expert is vying for a portion of more than $80,000 in prizes plus three college scholarships. First, second, and third place prizes are worth $1,000, $500, and $250, respectively. Students also are eligible for more than two dozen special awards sponsored by various organizations, with values ranging from $250 to $2,500.

Three senior division students will receive the grand prize of a college scholarship. The top prize is the Van Tassel Founder’s Award, a four-year scholarship to Case Western Reserve University. Partial scholarships are awarded to both Chaminade University in Hawaii and the University of Maryland, College Park.

Throughout their research, students uncovered untold stories, formed special connections with war heroes, and discovered that history impacts us all. Their hard-work presents a challenging task for the volunteers serving as judges. Judges are looking for historical quality, relation to the theme, and clarity of presentation. Each three-person panel is comprised of educators, historians, and volunteers.

“Every year students demonstrate creativity, passion and dedication that belies their years,” said National History Day Executive Director Cathy Gorn. “The National History Day Contest is challenging and these students represent the top 1% of entries in the world. I am excited to see what they have created!”

The contest schedule for the week is as follows:

  • Sunday, June 10: Welcome Ceremony at 6:30 p.m. on McKeldin Mall
  • Monday, June 11: Junior Division (Middle school) Competition in all categories
  • Tuesday, June 12: Senior Division (High School) Competition in all categories
  • Thursday, June 14: The National Contest Awards Ceremony is at 8:30 a.m. at the Xfinity Center

In addition to the competition, National History Day has worked with museums and organizations in the Washington, D.C. metro area to create NHD Explore (NHDx). This series of programs during the week-long contest allows students to further their love and learning of history. Selected students will be given the opportunity to present their exhibits at the National Museum of American History and screen their documentaries at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Thousands of students also will receive free passes to a number of museums around the area.

The National History Day Contest was created in 1974, at Case Western Reserve University by Dr. David Van Tassel. Since its inception, National History Day has grown from a contest of a few hundred students to an international educational organization promoting the study of history in education. More than half a million students, who are guided by more than 30,000 teachers, participate in this project-based academic competition annually.

About National History Day (NHD): NHD is a non-profit organization based in College Park, which seeks to improve the teaching and learning of history. The National History Day Contest was established in 1974 and currently engages more than half a million students in conducting original research on historical topics of interest. Students present their research as a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website. Projects compete first at the local and affiliate levels, where the top entries are invited to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park. NHD is sponsored in part by, HISTORY®, 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 nhd.org.

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