Waukee Middle School Students Head to Maryland as National History Day Finalists


Iowa Department of Education Director Brad Buck, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs Director Mary Cownie, Peyton Soethout, Samantha Morrow and Governor Terry Branstad at the National History Day in Iowa Junior Division state contest held May 5 at the State Historical Museum of Iowa in Des Moines.

Waukee Middle School students Samantha Morrow and Peyton Soethout advanced to the National History Day (NHD) Contest after winning top honors at state history competition held May 5 at the State Historical Museum of Iowa in Des Moines. Their website entry, “The Orphan Train Movement: A Shaky Start to Children’s Rights in America” examines the Orphan Train Movement and evaluates the role the movement played in the start of children’s rights in America and a society’s responsibility for its children. Governor Terry Branstad and Iowa Department of Education Director Brad Buck attended the awards ceremony.

Samantha and Peyton will compete for scholarships and prizes against nearly 3,000 students from the United States, American Samoa, Guam, International schools and Department of Defense Schools in Europe at the 2014 Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland June 15-19, 2014.

National History Day is a year-long education program that engages students in the process of investigation and interpretation of historical topics. Students may choose to produce dramatic performances, multimedia documentaries, create exhibits or research papers based on research related to an annual theme. The theme for 2014 is “Rights and Responsibilities in History.” Projects are then evaluated at local, state, and national competitions. The program encourages students to study local history and challenges them to expand their thinking and apply knowledge of local events to the national, or even worldwide scene.


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