Despite Coronavirus Challenges, Students Nationwide Prepare to
Go Head to Head with History in June

WASHINGTON, DC—National History Day® (NHD), the non-profit history education organization of record, has made the unprecedented decision to conduct its 2020 National Contest virtually. Despite nationwide school closures and extracurricular activity cancellations, NHD is fully supporting and staffing its flagship program that serves hundreds of thousands of middle and high school students across the country every year.

At a time when school systems and enrichment programs have been forced to make difficult decisions in a dramatically shifted academic landscape, many students have seen their hopes and expectations crushed. From athletics, proms, and graduations, to national enrichment programs like the Spelling Bee, Science Fair, and Odyssey of the Mind, opportunities have been drastically minimized, if not altogether eliminated. National History Day, however, has moved in a different direction.

“Our theme this year is Breaking Barriers in History,” said National History Day Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn, “and we recognized this as an opportunity to do something we’ve never done before. In the face of this devastating global crisis, we are using the tools available to us, specifically technology and our stalwart network of coordinators and volunteers, to support this year’s National Contest and make it happen for the students. Their perseverance and hard work will be seen and celebrated by teachers, parents, and most importantly, their peers across the country. We have to do all we can to provide a little bit of normalcy for these kids who have seen their usual school year all but vanish. Frankly, canceling was never an option.”

In migrating the competition online, the NHD National Contest week will extend by a few days; what usually takes place over five days at the University of Maryland, College Park, will be conducted remotely online over seven days, from June 14-20. In an effort to support families facing financial challenges, NHD reduced the 2020 National Contest registration fee by half, from $150 per student to $75 per student, and has appealed to those who are able to sponsor students. The nominal teacher registration fee has been eliminated entirely.

For updated and additional information about the National History Day 2020 National Contest, visit, and NHD’s main website,

About National History Day® (NHD):
NHD is a non-profit organization based in College Park, Maryland, 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 every year 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 Crown Family Foundation, The Better Angels Society, and the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation. For more information, visit

Colleen Kennedy
Communications Director
Phone: 301-405-0536
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