New Hampshire Students Place in Top 15 in Country at National History Day

June 15th, 2006 by Adam

Student teams from Milford High School and Gilford Middle School were recognized at the National History Day national competition, held June 11–15 at the University of Maryland. In addition, a student from Cooperative Middle School in Stratham won a trip to Jamestown this November to celebrate the 400th anniversary of this historic settlement.

National History Day is an educational program that encourages middle and high school students to celebrate their skills as historians. Working individually or in groups, students create projects, museum-style exhibits, research papers, dramatic performances or video documentaries based on topics relating to a nationally established theme. This year’s theme is “Taking a Stand in History: People, Ideas, Events.” Approximately 750,000 students participate nationwide.

Over 2,500 state winners from all over the country travel to the National History Day competition each year, after competing in qualifying events during the spring. In April, middle and high school students from New Hampshire participated in a state competition held at Plymouth State University. The best projects from that event were chosen to represent the state at the national competition. In New Hampshire, National History Day is sponsored by PSU and other statewide educational organizations. Professors Patrick May and John Krueckeberg from PSU’s Social Science Department are co-coordinators of National History Day in New Hampshire.

Jake Potelle and Chelsea Bucklin of Milford High School placed in the top 15 of the senior exhibit category (grades 9–12) for their project entitled “Panic, Paranoia and the Palmer Raids: Americans Taking a Stand against Communism.” The students were accompanied by their history teachers, Steve Vetack and Susan Kelly.

A group of four students from Gilford Middle School, Emily Roy, Ashley Dimartino, Christine Vigue and Bria Boschetto, won Outstanding New Hampshire State Entry in the junior exhibit category (grades 6–8) for their project, entitled “The John Scopes Trial and Theories of Evolution and Creationism.” The students were accompanied by their teacher, PSU alumnus Rob Meyers ’05.

In addition, Katherine Gager received the 2006 Jamestown Award. She and Amy Vandersall, her teacher from Cooperative Middle School will have the opportunity to visit Jamestown this November. Katherine’s project was a 10-minute documentary film entitled “Desperation and Denial: The Bonus Army March on Washington.”

All three projects were awarded medals at the national ceremony. Katherine’s prize came from the Jamestown 400th Anniversary Committee. The two group projects were each recognized by the Society for the Promotion of State and Local History as “Outstanding State Entries” for middle school and high school categories.

According to the National History Day Web site,, “National History Day (NHD) is a highly regarded academic organization for elementary and secondary school students. For more than 25 years NHD has promoted systemic educational reform related to the teaching and learning of history in America’s schools. The combination of creativity and scholarship built into the organization’s programs anticipated current educational reforms, making NHD a leading model of performance-based learning.”

To learn more about National History Day in New Hampshire, logon to

Plymouth State University (PSU) is a regional comprehensive university offering a rich, student-focused learning environment for both undergraduate and graduate students. PSU offers 42 majors and 62 minors in programs that include education, business, humanities, arts, and natural and social sciences. The College of Graduate Studies offers coursework that promotes research, best practices and reflection in locations on- and off-campus as well as online. For non-traditional students, PSU’s Frost School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers working professionals opportunities to pursue an undergraduate degree by attending classes in the evenings, weekends and online. Located in a beautiful New England setting, Plymouth State University has been recognized as one of the “Best in the Northeast” by The Princeton Review.