AUGUSTA, Maine – At the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day (NHD) contest, held at the University of Maryland College Park campus June 9-13, five Maine middle school students made it to the finals in their respective categories.
“This was an exceptional year for our History Day students, the most success Maine has ever had at the national contest,” said Felicia Kennedy, State Coordinator of Maine’s History Day Program. “Congratulations to our successful Maine contingent, especially to those students who placed in the top fourteen in the nation in their categories.”
Aaron and Adam Dustin, home-schooled brothers from Bowdoin, placed 12th in the Junior Group Exhibit category with their entry titled, “Benjamin Franklin: God’s Wrath, the Kite Experiment, and the Lightning Rod.” Aaron is in eighth grade and Adam in sixth. The Dustins also brought home medals and a prize when their project was selected by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation for the “Outstanding Colonial Era/Revolutionary War Project” award.
Eleanor Mallett, a seventh grade student at Noble Middle School in Berwick, placed 12th in the Junior Individual Performance category for her presentation of, “The National Park System: A Turning Point in Nature Preservation.”
Will Ellis and Hunter White, sixth graders at Hartford Sumner Elementary School placed seventh in the Junior Group Documentary category with, “Ultra and the Silent Heroes of Bletchley Park.”
Each fall, more than half a million students nationwide begin the year-long NHD program, competing in regional and statewide history contests. Maine’s statewide competition was held on April 4 at the University of Maine campus in Augusta. Twenty-six schools and 246 students participated. The top students in each category were selected for participation in the national contest. Of those students eligible, 36 went on to represent Maine with approximately 2,800 other middle and high school students from all 50 states and six territories.
More than 300 historians and other education professionals evaluated the students’ work at the national competition. A total of $150,000 was awarded in scholarships to select students, and approximately 100 students took home cash prizes of between $250 and $5,000 for superior work in a particular category of judging.