The Indiana Historical Society (IHS) proudly announces several Indiana students received special awards and honors at the National Contest for the National History Day (NHD) program held June 11-15 at University of Maryland, College Park.
Each year at the National Contest, officials choose one junior and one senior project as Indiana’s outstanding state entries.
This year, the Outstanding State Entry for the Junior Division went to Eliza Smiley, Maggie Webber and Mavis Cropp of Center for Inquiry #84 for their junior group documentary “Virginia Hall: The Remarkable Woman Who Turned the Tides of World War II.” The Outstanding State Entry for the Senior Division went to Ava Ward and Kenzie Sanderson of Columbia High School for their senior group exhibit, “Madam C.J. Walker’s Impossible Empire.”
NHD and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History also featured 48 student-produced exhibits in a live showcase at the museum on Flag Day, June 14. The exhibits were created by middle and high school students competing in the 2023 NHD National Contest. This year, the exhibit “John Newbery: The Man Behind the Magic of Children’s Literature” by Emma Graves and Lilah Walsh of Carmel High School was among the selected projects.
The 2023 National Contest, held in person for the first time since 2019, hosted more than 2,000 students across the United States and territories, and 52 students participated from Indiana. The students completed projects in one of five categories — documentary, exhibit, paper, performance or website — and then competed in a series of contests beginning at the local level. Less than one percent of projects advance to the National Contest.
Indiana had four projects receive honorable mentions, a recognition for projects that did not advance to finals but did place in the top 20 in the nation, including a senior individual performance “Thomas Nast vs. ‘Boss’ Tweed” by Luke Boyce of Carmel High School.
“Indiana’s students approached this year’s theme of ‘Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas’ with such creativity and tenacity. As the first delegation to compete in an in-person National contest since 2019, I could not be more proud of the poise our students showed while speaking to the judges throughout the contest week,” said Indiana Historical Society Director of Education and Engagement Bethany Hrachovec. “I hope they walk away from this experience inspired and excited to continue pursuing their research passions in the years ahead.”
NHDI is a yearlong program dedicated to enhancing history education in Indiana’s schools. Students in grades four through 12 explore a historical subject that fits under the annual theme. This year’s theme is “Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas,” inviting students to consider questions of time and place, cause and effect, change over time, and impact and significance. Students use their research to create a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance or website.
Educators and students alike use NHDI because it allows them to build critical thinking, inquiry, analysis and presentation skills through subjects the students are passionate about. Whether students create mini projects in class or go all the way to regional and state contests, educators and students share control of the project.
National History Day in Indiana (NHDI) is sponsored by the Indiana Historical Society. This year, 52 Hoosier students attended the National Contest. A complete list of 2023 NHD winners is available at www.nhd.org/winners.
NHDI is presented by the Rooker Family Foundation with support from the Vigran Family Foundation. For more information, visit www.indianahistory.org/historyday or call (317) 232-1882.
NHD Indiana Honorable Mentions (Top 20 in the Nation)
Senior Group Documentary: Alice Mayer, Annalise Taller, Janet Guthrie: Paving the Way for Women (Carmel High School, Carmel)
Senior Group Exhibit: Ava Ward, Kenzie Sanderson, Madam C.J. Walker’s Impossible Empire (Columbia City High School, Columbia City)
Senior Individual Performance: Luke Boyce, Thomas Nast vs. “Boss” Tweed (Carmel High School, Carmel)
Junior Group Documentary: Eliza Smiley, Maggie Webber, Mavis Cropp, Virginia Hall: The Remarkable Woman Who Turned the Tides of World War II (Center for Inquiry #84, Indianapolis)
Women’s History Award: Alice Mayer and Annalise Taller, Senior Group Documentary, Janet Guthrie: Paving the Way for Women (Carmel High School, Carmel)
Indiana Outstanding State Entries
Senior Division: Ava Ward, Kenzie Sanderson, Senior Group Exhibit, Madam C.J. Walker’s Impossible Empire (Columbia City High School, Columbia City)
Junior Division: Eliza Smiley, Maggie Webber, Mavis Cropp, Junior Group Documentary, Virginia Hall: The Remarkable Woman Who Turned the Tides of World War II (Center for Inquiry #84, Indianapolis)
Exhibit Showcase at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History: Emma Graves and Lilah Walsh, Senior Group Exhibit, John Newbery: The Man Behind the Magic of Children’s Literature (Carmel High School, Carmel)