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Indiana Students Receive Special Awards, Honors at National History Day Contest

The Indiana Historical Society (IHS) proudly announces several Indiana students received special awards at the National Contest for the National History Day (NHD) program held remotely from June 14-20. The prizes were announced during a virtual ceremony June 20 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 Raquel Brouwer of Lakeview Middle School for her junior individual performance “Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Breaking Barriers Through Law.” The Outstanding State Entry for the Senior Division went to Chloee Robison of Brown County High School for her senior individual exhibit, “The Thalidomide Tragedy: Breaking Barriers in Politics and the Placenta.”

Out of 212 entries, NHD officials selected 35 student documentaries to be displayed online for the National Museum of African American History and Culture Student Documentary Showcase. This year, the Junior Group Documentary “Breaking Barriers at Bat: The Indianapolis Clowns” by Julius Jodway, Timothy Kaye, Payton Krueger and Aldan Zolman of John Young Middle School (Mishawaka) was among the selected projects.

The 2020 National Contest virtually hosted 3,000 students, and more than half a million students globally took part in the 2020 National History Day program. 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 advanced to the National Contest.

“I can’t think of a more appropriate theme — Breaking Barriers — for the unique challenges students faced this year due to COVID-19,” said Indiana Historical Society Education Coordinator and NHDI State Coordinator Jonnie Fox. “Their perseverance through these unusual circumstances helped them gain invaluable academic experience and lessons in flexibility. Their commitment to their work is apparent, and it was an honor to watch them develop and evolve their projects this contest season.”

In addition, out of 38 teachers nominated across the country, Kristin Rentschler of Columbia City High School was the recipient of the Hannah E. (Liz) MacGregor Teacher of the Year award. The MacGregor Teacher of the Year award is sponsored by the former National History Day Board of Trustees president, Dr. James F. Harris, in honor of his late sister, and is awarded to one high school teacher annually who demonstrates a commitment to engaging students in historical learning through innovative use of primary sources, implementation of active learning strategies to foster historical thinking skills, and participation in the National History Day Contest.

National History Day in Indiana (NHDI) is sponsored by the Indiana Historical Society. This year, 60 Hoosier students attended the National Contest, with three awards, prizes or honors awarded to Indiana projects and students. A complete list of 2020 NHD winners is available at www.nhd.org/winners.

NHDI is presented by the Rooker Family Foundation with support from the Vigran Family Foundation and TCU Foundation. State Contest support was provided by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology.

Indiana Student Awards, Prizes and Honors

Indiana Outstanding State Entries

Outstanding State Entry, Junior Division
Raquel Brouwer
Lakeview Middle School, Warsaw
Junior Individual Performance
“Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Breaking Barriers Through Law”

Outstanding State Entry, Senior Division
Chloee Robison
Brown County High School, Nashville
Senior Individual Exhibit
“The Thalidomide Tragedy: Breaking Barriers in Politics and the Placenta”

Special Experiences

National Museum of African American History and Culture
Julius Jodway, Timothy Kaye, Payton Krueger and Aldan Zolman
John Young Middle School, Mishawaka
Junior Group Documentary
“Breaking Barriers at Bat: The Indianapolis Clowns”

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