Orange County students to explore new frontiers at National History Day contest

National History Day will return to Orange County to welcome over 300 young historians who will present their original projects at the two-day competition starting Friday, March 10.

Hosted by the Orange County Department of Education, this event will feature students from nine school districts as they showcase exhibits, historical papers, documentaries, websites, posters, performances and — more recently — podcasts for the chance to advance to the state and national finals in the coming months.

In a departure from recent competitions, which took place either virtually or with social distancing measures in place, this year’s event will welcome students, staff and community members in-person from 28 school sites.

More than 500,000 fourth- through 12th-grade students take part in National History Day annually through local, county, state and national competitions. Students work as individuals or in teams to conduct extensive historical research over the course of several months prior to submitting their projects.

Before they begin their research, participants must choose a topic based on the current theme. This year, it’s “Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas.” NHD-OC coordinator Julie Hull said the possibilities are endless for what students can explore in their projects.

“This year’s theme is exciting as it allows students to think of a frontier beyond the traditional sense of a location,” Hull said. “A variety of topics can be explored, such as frontiers in space exploration, frontiers in medicine, frontiers of thought that change conventional thinking.”

Historical papers, documentaries and performances in the Senior Division will be the first to be featured and judged on Friday, followed by podcasts, exhibits and website submissions from the same division on Saturday, March 11. The Junior Division’s podcasts, websites, historical papers, documentaries, performances and exhibits will also be evaluated Saturday, along with the posters and podcast entries from the Elementary Division.

The top projects from Orange County will move on to the statewide competition, held April 14 through April 16.

For more information about National History Day – Orange County, contact OCDE Coordinator Julie Hull at or visit