National History Day is a challenging and rewarding program for students in grades 6-12. For more than twenty-five years the program has promoted the learning of history in the high school and middle school classroom with a combination of creativity and scholarship. Students produce dramatic performances, exhibits, documentaries and research papers. The projects are then evaluated at local, state, national and international competitions. Each year more than 2,000 students, and their parents and teachers, gather at the University of Maryland, College Park for the week-long event. This year (June, 2011), at the final competition in College Park, students from the Concordia International School, in Shanghai, received the 2nd place award for Group Performance.

So, how do I get started?
To get involved with National History Day, choose a history topic related to National History Day's annual theme. The 2012 is Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History.” Then, you conduct research and create a presentation to enter in the annual competition.

Contest Categories
You may enter one of nine categories:
  • paper (individual only)
  • individual exhibit
  • group exhibit
  • individual performance
  • group performance
  • individual documentary
  • group documentary
  • individual web site
  • group web site

Is National History Day Only a Contest?
No. Because history is happening every day inside and out of the classroom, the National History Day program provides teachers with tools and curricula to encourage student enthusiasm for history. You can enter the contest by submitting work you’ve have done while studying history at any time-even outside of school.

At the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest winners receive monetary awards and medals in each category.
  • Gold medalists receive $1,000*
  • Silver medalists receive $500
  • Bronze medalists receive $250
*The gold medal winning projects in the senior division individual and group documentary categories receive The History Channel Award of $5,000 in place of the National History Day $1,000 prize.

Is National History Day Just for Kids?
One of the best things about the National History Day program is that it involves the whole family! In exploring their own culture and community, students learn more about their family. One student did a project on her family's tomato industry and its history. Another researched his grandfather's role on the railroad.

Take a look at the National History Day Rulebook for specific contest details.