Minnesota Students Earn Top Honors at National History Day Competition in Washington D.C.

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Release dated: 
June 16, 2011
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Tim Hoogland
Minnesota History Day

Minnesota Students Earn Top Honors at National History Day Competition in Washington D.C.

Minnesota students took home more awards than any other state competing in the 2011 National History Day competition at the University of Maryland on Thursday, June 16. In addition, eighth-grader Nathaniel Larson of the Lake Harriet Community School in Minneapolis earned the coveted title of national champion in his category. Overall, 18 Minnesota entries placed in the national finals.

The weeklong event featured student research topics about the Panama Canal treaties, changing attitudes about lobotomies, the settlement of displaced Jewish Holocaust survivors, the Green Revolution, Japanese Internment and Prohibition. Fifty-six Minnesota students joined almost 2,500 other students from across the nation in the competition.

The students, representing grades six through 12, from schools around the state, presented exhibits, papers, documentaries, performances and websites that showed off months of research into topics based on the 2011 National History Day theme: "Debate and Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences."  Program evaluations show that this applied learning model for history instruction improves student performance on standardized tests, increases student engagement, and builds research, reading and writing skills.

The top three national finishers in each category earn monetary awards. First place receives $1,000, second place receives $500 and third place receives $250. National History Day also recognizes one outstanding state entry in each division, junior and senior, with a medal.

Nathaniel LarsonJennifer and Camille
(Left: Nathaniel Larson, Right: Jenn Fabian and Camille Balhorn)

Nathaniel Larson, Lake Harriet Community School, was named national champion (1st place) in the junior individual website category for his presentation, "Debate and Diplomacy:  The Panama Canal Treaties."

Other medal winners from Minnesota:

  • Anna Solomon, Sunrise Park Middle School, White Bear Lake, 2nd place, junior individual documentary,  “The Universal Declaration of Rights: Eleanor Roosevelt’s Diplomatic Achievement.
  • Carly Zimmerman and Maggie Schmidt, Cyber Village Academy, St. Paul. 2nd place, junior group performance, "Civilize or Demoralize: The Dawes Act of 1887."
  • Jenn Fabian, Breck School, Minneapolis. 2nd place, junior individual exhibit category, "The Cuban Missile Crisis: Kennedy’s Debate Between Diplomacy and War."
  • Eve Zelickson and Sophie O’Bryan, Breck School, Minneapolis. 2nd place, junior group exhibit, “Touching Peace: The Oslo Accord’s Diplomatic Effort to Reach Peace Between Palestinians and Israelis.”  
  • Kamran Kelly, Capitol Hill Magnet School, St. Paul, 2nd place, junior individual web site, “A Debate Distilled: The Consequences of Prohibition and the Volstead Act.”
  • Camille Balhorn, Robbinsdale Middle School. 3rd place, junior individual exhibit, "The Boundary Waters Treaty: Sustained Diplomacy."

Other top finishers from Minnesota:

  • Merissa Wellman, Chatfield High School. Fourth place, senior individual exhibit.
  • Alex Westad, White Bear Lake High School. Fifth place, senior individual performance.
  • Roshini Asirvatham, Friedell Middle School, Rochester. Fifth place, junior individual documentary.
  • Madi Lommen and Stephanie Headrick, Breck School, Minneapolis. Fifth place, junior group exhibit.
  • Kennedy Borman and Samantha Coffler, Lake Harriet Community School, Minneapolis. Fifth place, junior group web site. This presentation also received the outstanding state entry award for the junior division.
  • Jeremy Stephan, Holy Rosary School, Duluth. Sixth place, junior individual performance.
  • Carlie Cervantes, DeLaSalle High School, Minneapolis. Sixth place, senior individual website.
  • Selena Erstad, Highland Park High School, St. Paul.  Seventh place, senior individual documentary.
  • Grace Haldeman and Sammy Carlson, Lake Harriet Community School, Minneapolis.  Seventh place, junior group website.
  • Molly Nemer, Henry Sibley High School, West St. Paul.  Twelfth place, senior individual documentary.
  • Mackenzie Schuett and Katelyn Schuett, Christ’s Household of Faith School, St. Paul. Twelfth Place, senior group performance.
  • Clara Linehan, Chisago Lakes High School.  Outstanding state entry, senior division, senior individual performance.

For more information see the National History Day in Minnesota page on the Minnesota Historical Society’s web site at www.mnhs.org/school/historyday.

National History Day in Minnesota is a co-curricular historical research program, co-sponsored by the Minnesota Historical Society and the University of Minnesota, Department of History.  In Minnesota, 30,000 students from over 250 schools participate in the program each year.

The National History Day program has been recognized as a leader in facilitating academic achievement. By co-sponsoring the program, the Minnesota Historical Society and the University of Minnesota become key partners in classroom achievement. Thousands of students make use of the Society’s archives, the University’s libraries, and other online resources, museums, and historic sites each year. 

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849 to preserve and share Minnesota history. The Society tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, extensive libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing.

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by its Premier Partners: Xcel Energy and Explore Minnesota Tourism.