N.H. Students Celebrate National History Day at PSU

April 1st, 2011 by Adam

Plymouth State University celebrated National History Day in New Hampshire (NHDNH) April 2 with more than 100 students from 20 different schools participating in the on-campus event. NHDNH is an educational program which encourages middle and high school students to celebrate their skills as historians and exposes them to the processes, sources, and complexities of historical research. This year’s theme was “Debate and Diplomacy in History.” The participating students are chosen by their schools to demonstrate the results of their hard work in this state-wide contest.

PSU Social Studies Education coordinator Patrick May of PSU, NHDNH co- coordinator, said the event provides middle and high school students an opportunity to present their historical research, guided by their teachers.

“New Hampshire’s history teachers work hard to help their students construct these projects throughout the year, and this event culminates the process,” May said.

John Krueckeberg, PSU History professor and program co-coordinator, said the students investigate their topic, develop a thesis, and interpret primary and secondary sources to apply it to the national theme.

PSU's Patrick May presents N.H. History Day middle school teacher of the Year Award to Rob Meyers
Left to right, PSU’s Patrick May presents N.H. History Day Middle School Teacher of the Year Award to Rob Meyers

“It teaches critical thinking, writing and research skills and boosts performance across all subject areas – thus, it is more than just history, it is preparing students with real-life skills,” said Krueckeberg.

PSU's Patrick May presents N.H. History Day High School Teacher of the Year Award to Kelly Nelson
Left to right, PSU’s Patrick May presents N.H. History Day High School Teacher of the Year Award to Kelly Nelson

In addition to student presentations, two Plymouth State graduates were named New Hampshire’s National History Day Teachers of the Year.

  • Rob Meyers of Gilford Middle School is a PSU graduate and has been using NHDNH in his Gilford Middle School classroom for over five years. He has brought several students to the state and national competition each year he has participated, with past students being recognized as outstanding junior entries in the state.

    “Rob’s dedication to his students is evident in the quality of their work and their enthusiasm for their topics,” said May. “Several of his former students continue to compete independently at the high school level with his continued guidance and feedback.”

  • Kelly Nelson of Lin-Wood earned a master’s at PSU and is in her first year of National History Day. Kelly’s efforts in initially learning the ropes of the program, facing the challenges of integrating it as a requirement among all of the students in her history class, and coordinating a strong school-level competition represent the best spirit of an NHD teacher.

    “She clearly worked to encourage students to integrate the research project in an interdisciplinary fashion, connecting the historical research with writing components through collaboration with an English teacher at Lin-Wood,” noted May.

    Nationwide, over 700,000 middle and high school students participate in National History Day each year. Studies show NHD students outperform their non-NHD peers on state standardized tests in multiple subjects, including reading, science and math, as well as social studies.

    For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or blyndes@plymouth.edu