Students from 23 local schools prep for National History Day-Orange County

National History Day title

Nearly 250 young historians from 23 schools in seven school districts will take part in this month’s National History Day-Orange County competition, where they’ll showcase original exhibits, historical papers, websites, documentaries, performances, posters and even podcasts.

Hosted by the Orange County Department of Education, this year’s event will be held in-person with limited capacity on March 11 and March 12.

NHD logo with theme: "Debate & Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences

Each year, more than 500,000 students in grades four through 12 take part in National History Day contests at the local, county, state and national levels. Participants, working as individuals or in teams, conduct extensive research on a historical topic over the course of several months before submitting projects connected to a specific theme. This year’s theme is “Debate & Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences.”

The NHD-OC entries will be evaluated by panels comprising more than 60 volunteer judges from Orange County’s educational and business communities. And for the first time, the county and state National History Day events will include podcast entries for students in the Elementary, Junior and Senior divisions. Podcasts were submitted for NHD-OC by Feb. 22 to be prejudged along with documentaries, historical papers and websites.

The NHD-OC contest will officially begin on Friday, March 11, when historical papers, performances and documentaries in the Senior Division will be featured and judged. On Saturday, March 12, Senior Division podcasts, websites and exhibit entries will compete, as will podcasts, websites, historical papers, documentaries, performances and exhibits in the Junior Division. Podcasts and posters in the Elementary Division will also be evaluated on Saturday, March 12.

All participants and coaches are encouraged to attend a virtual award ceremony at 6 p.m. on March 16.

The top submissions from the National History Day-Orange County competition will advance to the state finals in May, and California’s highest-scoring projects will compete in the National History Day Contest in June.

For more information, contact NHD-OC Coordinators Julie Hull and Marika Manos at, or visit the NHD-OC website at