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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 virtually from June 13-19. The prizes were announced during a virtual ceremony June 19 at University of Maryland, College Park.

The 2021 National Contest virtually hosted almost 3,000 students across the United States and territories, and 56 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 five projects reach finals, including third place senior paper “Shackling Sermons: How the Pseudo-Christian Communication of Proslavery Preachers Fueled the South’s Defense of Slavery” by Abigail Rahn of Warsaw Community High School and second place junior group documentary “Singing for Change: The Power of Music in the Civil Rights Movement” by Caleb Duel, Finley Bailey, Robinson Hoffert and Wyatt Stapleton of Edgewood Middle School.

In addition, officials chose one junior and one senior project as Indiana’s outstanding state entries. This year, the Outstanding State Entry for the Junior Division went to Ginny and Hailey Neumeister of Sycamore School for their junior group documentary, “The Concealed Contributions of Elizebeth Smith Friedman: Cracking Communication through Codebreaking.” The Outstanding State Entry for the Senior Division went to Ben Boyce of Carmel High School for his senior individual documentary, “Flowers and Explosions: How One TV Advertisement Changed the Course of Political Advertising.”

NHD officials selected 33 student documentaries to be featured in an online showcase for the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). The films were produced by middle and high school students competing in the 2021 NHD National Contest and were screened and selected by NMAAHC staff. This year, the junior group documentary “Singing for Change: The Power of Music in the Civil Rights Movement” by Caleb Duel, Finley Bailey, Robinson Hoffert and Wyatt Stapleton of Edgewood Middle School was among the selected projects.

NHD, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian Learning Lab also presented a new online showcase of 51 exhibits researched by middle and high school students competing in the 2021 NHD National Contest. This year, the exhibit “A Not So Silent Spring: How the Concerns Expressed in One Novel Flourished into a Movement” by Claire Swigart and Greta Heyl of Carmel High School was among the selected projects.

The Discovery or Exploration in History Award went to the junior individual exhibit “Communication: Key to Apollo 11’s Success” by Sreeja Bhattacharjee of Discovery Middle School; and the Native American History Prize went to the senior individual documentary “Zitkála-Šá: The Red Bird Who Called for Change” by Faith Austin of Carmel High School.

“These students have gracefully tacked this year’s theme of Communication in History, all while experiencing significant changes in communication themselves,” said Indiana Historical Society Education Coordinator and NHDI State Coordinator Jonnie Fox. “I can’t express enough how impressed I am with students this contest season and their continued perseverance through all the changes that have come their way.”

National History Day in Indiana (NHDI) is sponsored by the Indiana Historical Society. This year, 56 Hoosier students attended the National Contest. A complete list of 2021 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.

For more information, visit www.indianahistory.org/historyday or call (317) 232-1882.

Indiana Student Awards, Prizes and Honors

NHD Indiana Finalists
10th place, Senior Individual Performance: Rebecca Pinero, Cicero, Indiana: Ryan White’s Advocacy for Acceptance and Truth (Shortridge High School, IPS Region)
3rd place, Senior Paper: Abigail Rahn, Shackling Sermons: How the Pseudo-Christian Communication of Proslavery Preachers Fueled the South’s Defense of Slavery (Warsaw Community High School, NE Region)
2nd place, Junior Group Documentary: Caleb Duel, Finley Bailey, Robinson Hoffert, Wyatt Stapleton, Junior Group Documentary, Singing for Change: The Power of Music in the Civil Rights Movement (Edgewood Middle School, NE Region)
10th place, Junior Individual Documentary: Steve Hackwelder, Sweeping the Clouds Away: How Sesame Street Revolutionized Children’s Television (The Mythical Beings History Club at Sycamore School, Central Region)
7th place, Senior Individual Documentary: Faith Austin, Zitkála-Šá: The Red Bird Who Called for Change (Carmel High School, Central Region)

Special Awards
Discovery or Exploration in History: Sreeja Bhattacharjee, Junior Individual Exhibit, Communication: Key to Apollo 11’s Success (Discovery Middle School, NE Region)
Native American History Prize: Faith Austin, Senior Individual Documentary, Zitkála-Šá: The Red Bird Who Called for Change (Carmel High School, Central Region)

Indiana Outstanding State Entries
Senior Division: Ben Boyce, Senior Individual Documentary, Flowers and Explosions: How One TV Advertisement Changed the Course of Political Advertising (Carmel High School, Central Region)
Junior Division: Ginny and Hailey Neumeister, Junior Group Documentary, The Concealed Contributions of Elizebeth Smith Friedman: Cracking Communication through Codebreaking (The Mythical Beings History Club at Sycamore School, Central Region)

Showcased Projects
Exhibit Showcase at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History via the Smithsonian Learning Lab: Claire Swigart and Greta Heyl, A Not So Silent Spring: How the Concerns Expressed in One Novel Flourished into a Movement (Carmel High School, Central Region)
https://learninglab.si.edu/profile/nationalhistoryday
Virtual Documentary Showcase at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture: Caleb Duel, Finley Bailey, Robinson Hoffert, Wyatt Stapleton, Junior Group Documentary, Singing for Change: The Power of Music in the Civil Rights Movement (Edgewood Middle School, NE Region)
https://learninglab.si.edu/collections/national-history-day-at-nmaahc-student-documentary-showcase-2021/2iW7kPG0EqjOcT3Q#r/

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