SLHS students on to National History Day competition with ‘I Love Lucy’ documentary

Friday, May 15, 2020

More than 500 Iowa students from virtually everywhere across the state to compete in this year’s National History Day in Iowa state contest.

For the first time in its existence, the contest moved to an online format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fifty-four students from 24 different Iowa communities took top honors during the state contest and advanced to the National History Day national contest where they will compete online in June for top honors.

Among them are Lessly Ortega-Luque and Daniel Mendoza from Storm Lake High School, advised by Christina Rice, with their senior group documentary, “Lights, Camera, Action, Breaking Barriers With ‘I Love Lucy.’” National competition is expected to be held in June, also remotely due to COVID-19 concerns.

“This year’s competition has been a tremendous challenge in light of the coronavirus, and we are proud of our student participants, their families and teachers for making the transition to the online format as smooth as possible,” said Susan Kloewer, administrator of the State Historical Society of Iowa. “I encourage all Iowans to join me in congratulating these student historians and wishing our national qualifiers well as they move on to the next competition.”

National History Day is a year-long academic enrichment program that challenges students to research, develop and present papers, exhibits, documentaries, websites and performances about historical topics related to an annual theme. This year’s theme is “Breaking Barriers in History.”

Students compete in a Junior Division (grades 6-8), Senior Division (grades 9-12), and a non-competitive Youth Division (grades 4-5). Students learn important literacy skills and how to conduct research using primary, secondary, community and statewide resources. Working individually or in groups of two to five, they develop the following attributes that are essential for future success:

• critical thinking and problem-solving skills

• research and reading skills

• oral and written communication skills

• presentation skills

• self-esteem and confidence

• a sense of responsibility for and involvement in the democratic process

More than half a million middle and high school students around the world participate in the program each year.

The National History Day in Iowa program has been coordinated since 1994 by the State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and is sponsored by State Historical Society, Inc.; Principal Financial Group; Bravo Greater Des Moines; Prairie Meadows and Luther College.