PLYMOUTH, N.H. – For the first time in nearly a dozen years, New
Hampshire students were able to attend the National History Day (NHD) finals.
And they came back with the top prize.
Plymouth State College Assistant Professors Patrick May and John Krueckeberg
escorted 34 New Hampshire middle- and high-school students to the National
History Day (NHD) finals at the University of Maryland, College Park, June 15 –
19. All were winners at the National History Day in New Hampshire (NHDNH) state
finals, hosted by Plymouth State in March.
The theme for the year was “Rights and Responsibilities in History.” Student
projects can take the form of theatrical performances, documentaries, exhibit
displays or traditional papers. Kevin Koo, a senior from Nashua Senior High
School, won the first and most prestigious award of the national finals: the
“Best Use of ‘Our Documents’ Award,” for his dramatic performance piece, “Bitter
Strength and Selective Nationalism: The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.” Before a
crowd of 3,000 cheering students, teachers and parents from around the country,
Koo received his medal from Klaus Kleinfeld, president and CEO of Siemens, and
was congratulated by John Bridgeland, assistant to President George W. Bush and
director of the White House initiative USA Freedom Corp; Archivist of the United
States John Carlin (former Speaker of the House); and NHD Chairperson Gail
Other New Hampshire students, also from the Nashua area, brought home awards
as well. The American Association for State and Local History sponsored awards
for outstanding entries from each state. Marjorie Kasten and Bridget Poznaski of
Main Dunstable Elementary School were recognized for their exhibit, “Behind the
Smokescreen: The Rights and Responsibilities of Tobacco.” Fairgrounds student
Sarayu Mangipudi won for her exhibit on the rights and responsibilities
associated with World War II propaganda, “Zip the Lip or Sink the Ship.”
At the awards ceremony, NHD Executive Director Cathy Gorn said, “I am very
pleased to say that this year is the first time that New Hampshire has come back
to National History Day in more than 10 years—and they’ve got themselves a
winner on the first try.” The program was revitalized last summer by May and
Krueckeberg, who arranged for Plymouth to become the sponsoring institution and
worked with teachers and home-schoolers around the state all year to help them
plan curriculum and activities tied to the NHD theme.
“Plymouth sponsors NHDNH because this organization fits our commitment to
improving education in the state of New Hampshire and helping New Hampshire
communities,” said Krueckeberg. “NHDNH is also supported by the Springer
Foundation, the New Hampshire Department of Education, the New Hampshire Council
for Social Studies, and the parents and teachers of over 300 young New Hampshire
historians. Together, we’ve given these students opportunities they wouldn’t
otherwise have been able to experience. And they’ve learned that ‘doing history’
is much more rewarding than memorizing dates from a text book.”
Upon their return to New Hampshire, Archivist Carlin invited Koo to perform
his award-winning piece at Union Station in Washington, D.C. for the national
Independence Day celebration on July 4.
For more information about National History Day in New Hampshire, see their
Web site at www.plymouth.edu/psc/nhdnh or go to http://nationalhistoryday.org to
learn about the national organization.
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