National History Day is a nation wide history competition for students from 6th through 12th grade. The purpose of the competition is to create projects such as documentaries, display boards, plays, or papers relating to a different theme chosen each year. This year”s theme was “Triumph and Tragedy” and topics are chosen to illustrate this theme. Students must compete in three different competitions regional, state competition, and finally the national competition. Every year students from all over the country gather at the University of Maryland in College Park for the National History Day competition. After five days of extreme pressure, students gather in the indoor stadium for the awards ceremony. The top three projects in every category are awarded medals, but in addition to those are several special prizes awarded to excellence in projects relating to a certain category. The Irish award is one of these special awards given to two projects in the Junior and Senior divisions, awarded by the Ancient Order of the Hibernians. This year the award in the senior division was won by: Clare Barrett, Emily Barrett, Kristian Cowden, Gwenllian Kern-Allely, and Maggie Thulson for their senior group performance on the Irish Potato Famine entitled “The Misnomer of An Gorta Mor” (The Great Hunger in Gaelic). The work on this project spanned ten months. All students attend Denver School of the Arts and are under the direction of Mrs. Barbara Allen. After critiquing many projects pertaining to Irish history or Irish American history, three members of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians, Tom Conway, Mike McCormack, and David A. Ring awarded the group a $1500 prize. In addition to being awarded the Irish award, this project received 7th place (out of 90 performance groups) in the nation in the senior group performance category. There were about 2,000 participants in this years NHD competition. The keynote speaker was Award winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns. (Students to be honored at Colorado Irish Festival)

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