WASHINGTON, D.C.—National History Day® (NHD), the nonprofit history education organization of record, is set to host its 2021 National Contest in June. The NHD 2021 theme is Communication in History: The Key to Understanding, and as students and teachers across the country continue to utilize modern communication technologies to conduct remote, in-person, and hybrid classes, National History Day will host its annual celebration of the country’s most impressive secondary students of history in a virtual competition for the second year in a row.

Studying and understanding history is paramount for a society committed to democratic principles of equality and justice for its people, and to the enduring pursuit of a more perfect union. Since the fall of 2020, students who have engaged in the rigors of historical inquiry and research for 2021 NHD projects have done so against a national backdrop of protest, unrest, a contentious presidential election, a global pandemic, and a violent attack against the U.S. Capitol, the very emblem and edifice of American democracy. National History Day’s ultimate goal is to equip its students with the skills they need to become engaged citizens who understand the issues and events playing out in their communities and the world around them. By researching, completing, and revising their NHD projects, students discover antecedents and aftereffects of complex historical events, and hone critical thinking skills to draw conclusions about how the people and movements they researched are still relevant to the decisions and destinies of today.

“NHD students impress me every year,” said Dr. Cathy Gorn, National History Day Executive Director. “Completing an NHD project is no small feat, and it is even more remarkable given the challenges through which students and teachers have persevered this past school year. I look forward to enjoying the Communication in History projects competing in the 2021 National Contest, and I commend all of the students and teachers who participated in National History Day programs across the country and around the world.”

The 2021 NHD National Contest will be conducted remotely during seven days of online forums, virtual showcases, and livestreamed events and ceremonies, June 13-19. Almost 3,000 students across the United States and territories, and from programs in China, Korea, and South Asia, advanced through the gauntlet of school, regional, state, and affiliate contests to reach the national stage. Along the way, students edited and refined their projects—presented in one of five formats: documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, and website—to be ready for this ultimate stage of competition.

About National History Day® (NHD)

NHD is a nonprofit organization based in College Park, Maryland, which seeks to improve the teaching and learning of history. The National History Day Contest was established in 1974 and currently engages more than half a million students every year in conducting original research on historical topics of interest. Students present their research as a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website. Projects compete first at the local and affiliate levels, where the top entries are invited to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park. NHD is sponsored in part by HISTORY®, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Park Service, Southwest Airlines, the Crown Family Foundation, The Better Angels Society, the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, and the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation. For more information, visit nhd.org.

May 11, 2021 •

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