At the NHD Contest

group of students in the dorm with inflatable cows at National History Day 2017

National History Day starts with a welcome ceremony on Sunday and ends with the awards ceremony on Thursday. It's great if you can be there the whole time, but not everyone can. Junior division students must be there on Monday for judging. Senior division students must be there on Tuesday for judging. For those who advance to the final round in documentaries or performances, junior final round judging is on Tuesday evening and senior final round judging is on Wednesday. (Final round judging for exhibits, websites and papers happens without the students.)

The awards ceremony takes place on Thursday morning, starting with the parade of states inside the Xfinity Center. Winning students in each category and special prize winners are recognized during the ceremony. There are also awards for the best entries in each state.

Judging at NHD

Judging at NHD will be the same as judging for Vermont History Day. There will be 3 judges who will meet with you and ask you questions about your projects. Prepare to discuss how your topic is related to the theme. Remember to review your projects, process papers and bibliographies so you can answer the questions. The judges won't be mean, but take the judging seriously, since the 10 minutes of questioning is the main reason you're at NHD! Try out these practice questions in the car/plane/train on the way to Maryland.

Judging takes place in a number of building across the campus. It can take several minutes to walk from the Stamp Student Union to the judging locations. And there is rarely parking near the buildings. And the campus can be confusing as many buildings look similar. Make sure you allow enough time to get from place to place so you can be calm, cool and collected before judging.

You should dress up for your judging. Remember that you cannot wear a costume (unless you are doing a performance). But you can coordinate your outfit with your group.

At the start of your judging time, introduce yourself to the judges and offer to shake hands. Students with performances and documentaries should hand each judge a copy of the process paper and bibliography so they can start reading while you set up. (Students with exhibits should leave process papers and bibliographies in front of the exhibit before 9:30 am the day of judging.)

Spectators can watch judging for performances, documentaries, websites and papers, so there might be other people in the judging rooms.

Pins and T-Shirts

Each student will receive a bag full of pin (aka buttons), like your pin from Vermont History Day. You can trade these pins with students from other states. The challenge is to get a pin from each state and from other places like Guam or South Korea! Trading pins is a great way to meet other people and learn where they are from. Ask Victoria for extra pins if you run out.

You will also get a Vermont t-shirt to celebrate your participation in NHD. We usually wear the t-shirts for our photo on Capitol Hill. We also wear the shirts for the awards ceremony. It helps us recognize fellow Vermonters when we are wearing the shirts.

Ideally you will receive your shirt and pins before NHD, because pin trading usually starts the moment you walk in the door. Victoria will coordinate with parents and teachers in early June or distribute the shirt and pins in Maryland.

Inflatable Cows

We're from Vermont, so we have to bring the cows! Years ago, Cabot gave us a herd of inflatable cows, just for National History Day. On Wednesday night, the cows emerge from their box and we inflate them. The next morning the cows join us for the parade and the awards ceremony. Other states will try to "borrow" our cows because our cows are so awesome. But we usually don't share!

The parade takes place on Thursday morning before the awards ceremony. We also make signs to carry around and we wear our Vermont NHD t-shirts. We will have a section of reserved seats for students, teachers and families so we can all sit together and cheer for our winners. And we always win the "Best of State - Vermont" award - one for the junior division and one for the senior division.

Packing for NHD

For the contest, remember to bring:

  • Your project! At least 4 copies of your process paper (with bibliography). Review the contest rule book to make sure your project conforms to all the guidelines!
  • Exhibitors – bring extra supplies and any tools you may need for putting your exhibit together. Think about supplies you might need in case a label or anything is damaged.
  • Documentaries – bring multiple copies of the documentary either on USB drives or dvds. All documentary rooms will have PC computers with hookups to LCD projectors/screens. You might also want to have the documentary saved in the cloud (i.e. Google Drive) as extra backup. (You do not submit your documentary early to NHD like you do for the state contest.)
  • Websites – nothing. Your process papers and bibliographies are part of your site.
  • Papers – bring a copy for you to review before judging. The judges already have copies.
  • Performances – make sure you have all of the props and costumes you need. The judging rooms might have tables and chairs you can use, but this is not guaranteed. Bring everything you need for your performance.
  • Dress clothes for the competition.
  • Vermont History Day T-shirt and buttons – unless you are picking them up in Maryland.

Also pack:

  • Comfortable shoes. You will be on your feet a lot during the week.
  • Rain jacket/ umbrella (but hope for good weather!)
  • Clothes for 5 days – shorts, t-shirts, etc. It can get hot in Maryland!
  • Some spending money.
  • Sunscreen, especially if you will be walking around Washington, D.C.
  • Camera, cell phone, etc. Remember to bring the chargers.

If you are staying in the dorms, bring:

  • Toiletries - toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, etc.
  • Washcloths - but not towels (sheets, a blanket, a pillow and bath towels are provided, washcloths are not)
  • Shower shoes - flip flops or shoes you can wear in the shower. (There are only a few showers for the whole floor and many people will be using the showers. They are clean, but sometimes it's nice to be wearing something on your feet.)
  • Bathing suit and beach towel for University swimming pool. (The hotels might have pools, too.)

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