Hundreds of Iowa high school students are looking back at major events as part of National History Day in Iowa. Competitions are underway all day at the State Historical Building in Des Moines. Jeff Morgan, spokesman for the State Historical Society of Iowa, says the kids are working to make history come alive.

"They are competing in a wide range of categories about historical issues, ideas, peoples and events that took place in the past," Morgan says. "The theme for this year’s National History Day in Iowa is: ‘The Individual in History: Actions and Legacies.’" He says this is a year-long academic adventure that aims to generate enthusiasm for learning and encourages students to draw on an array of resources.

"They put together different kinds of packages," Morgan says. "They put together research papers, websites, individual and group exhibits, documentaries and performances." Students competing today are in grades nine-through-12 in the senior division while next

Monday, May 4th, it’ll be the junior division for grades six-through-eight. He says today’s competitors are putting their all into the presentations. "Iowa traditionally has been very strong with National History Day," Morgan says. "We have had a Grand Champion in the past couple of years and typically every year, we see them coming home with national honors and recognition so we’re very excited to see how this group of students does."

Last year, three Iowa students won their respective categories and 25 others earned honors at nationals. Over the two days of the competition in Iowa (today and next Monday), about 700 Iowa students will take part. Of those, about 50 will be chosen to attend the national event in June at the University of Maryland. For more information, visit " ".