The 2015 NHD Theme

We are proud to announce the 2015 National History Day theme is Leadership and Legacy in History. This is a great opportunity to consider important leaders across the spectrum of history: political, military, social, economic, global, regional and local.  The resources for 2015 include:

2015 Theme Sheet.  
2015 Theme Book
2015 Topic Possibilities
The National History Day Rule Book (New Edition)


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The National History Day Mentoring Program at LaGrange College

National History Day began at Case Western Reserve University in 1974.  According to the University archive blog Recollections , planning for the first event began the year before.  Designed as part of the Bicentennial celebration, Case Western Reserve University's History Department Chair, Dr. David Van Tassel, led the way.    That very first History Day brought 125 students to the campus to share their findings and revel in the excitement.  What began at Case Western is now an international program 35 years strong.  More than half a million students, grades 6-12 from all fifty states plus the District of Columbia, Department of Defense Schools, American Samoa and International Schools in Asia participate.  This past June the national contest brought almost 3000 students to the campus of the University of Maryland.

The Program engages students in middle and high school in the historical process.  Over the course of the school year, students select a topic related to the year's theme.  They then engage in a program of research, in both primary and secondary sources, designed to investigate their topic and answer specific research questions.  Their results are then presented through one of a variety of categories including exhibits, papers, documentaries, websites and performances.  All entries, regardless of category include a written component, known as the 'process paper' which discusses the reasoning behind the project, the research process and the significance of the topic to the theme.  Students must also prepare and submit an annotated bibliography.

National History Day students study the past in an active and dynamic way, developing skills that apply to all facets of their lives.  They learn the value of deep and critical reading.  Students analyze evidence, interpret data, draw conclusions and communicate them via written and oral means.  It is a true learning experience:  students learn, students experience, students grow and students achieve in ways even they thought unimaginable.

LaGrange College has co-hosted the West Georgia Regional NHD competition for decades.  In recent years, however, we have become increasingly aware and sensitive to the pressures and demands placed upon teachers and students which restrict the amount of time and energy available to engage in deep, meaningful historical learning.  Our desire to help coalesced around National History Day.  We decided, during the 2008-2009 academic year to develop what is now called the National History Day Mentoring Program.  The program is multi-faceted and includes: teacher workshops, student workshops, research support and assistance, an electronic query service ( ) and forums via Twitter and Facebook .  Since 2012 we have been partners with the Georgia Humanities Council to offer educational outreach and NHD support service to the entire state of Georgia. The mentoring team consists of:

Dr. J. Cafaro, Professor of History (
Dr. L. Crutchfield, Asst. Professor of History (
Dr. J. VanLieu, Asst. Professor of History (
Dr. K. Shirley, Professor of History and Co-Coordinator Ga NHD, (
Mrs. B. Anderson, History/Social Science Dept. Assistant, (  

Our Partners include:

Laura McCarty, Vice President Georgia Humanities Council and State Coordinator, Georgia National History Day (
Kaye Minchew, Director Troup County Archives and West Georgia Regional Coordinator (

Regional Coordinators and Contests

The State of Georgia has 10 NHD Regions, each conducting its own contest.  The state contest is held on the campus of Mercer University.  A full list of regional coordinators and contest dates can be found here .

Contact Information

Kevin Shirley
Program Coordinator
Phone 706-880-8033

Contact the Program
Phone 706-880-8174