(Washington D.C.) - After months of intensive research and success at regionals and affiliate-level competitions, Atalie Thatch, a student at Lander Middle School presented her project at the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day Contest. The event was held at the University of Maryland, College Park Campus in the Washington, D.C. area, June 12-16. She was awarded the Asian-American History Award. Atalie was selected to represent Wyoming and National History Day students. She presented remarks about her History Day experience at the National Endowment for the Humanities Breakfast on Capitol Hill on June 15, 2016. From Atalie’s speech to the Congressional delegation she stated: “History Day has shaped my character and guided decisions I make. I cherish these deep relationships. Without NHD, I do not believe I would have discovered these events, people, or myself. Because of NHD, I have begun to appreciate the rights with responsibilities I have as a girl in America.” Each year more than half a million students worldwide participate in the annual National History Day Contest. Students create projects in one of five categories: documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website. The program encourages students to conduct original historical research using both primary and secondary sources around an annual theme. The 2016 theme was Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History. After completing a project, students compete in a series of history contests beginning at the local level. The top students in all 50 states, D.C., and several U.S. territories and international schools are given the opportunity to present their projects at the National Contest. This year thousands of students from around the world presented their work to judges at the National Contest. “The work students put into these projects is astounding,” said NHD Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “To make it to the National Contest is an incredible accomplishment. Fewer than 1% of all projects make it to this level. It requires a superb level of research and critical thinking skills. I am confident we will continue to see great things from all of these students because the skills learned through competing in NHD help prepare students for success in college and career.” More than 300 historians and education professionals evaluate the students’ work at the national competition. $150,000 worth of scholarships were awarded at the national awards ceremony and approximately 100 students took home cash prizes between $250 and $1,000 for superior work in a particular category of judging. Learn more here.