Website developed by JHS students to represent Iowa at NHD National Contest

NHD state photo jpegJOHNSTON, Ia. (May 1, 2024) — A website about Watergate developed by four Johnston High School juniors — Kathir Kalyanaraman, Andrew Bogue, Aydean Bejtovic and Shreyas Shrestha — will be one of two Group Websites representing Iowa at the National History Day (NHD) National Contest, June 9-13 in Washington, D.C.

Their website, “Ripples of Deceit: Watergate and the Changing Tides of American Politics,” looked at Watergate as a turning point in history. The four students researched the topic, then produced a website that details the event with a thesis that “both parties were reshaped after Watergate, and widespread government reform helped sculpt a new America.”

The JHS students’ qualification for the NHD National Contest came at the National History Day state competition held Monday, April 29 at the Iowa Events Center. Johnston High School and Johnston Middle School were represented very strongly at that state-level National History Day competition.  Seven different entries, constructed by a total of 12 students, had advanced to the State level of competition by winning at the District level in March.

The state competition was fierce, but Johnston had excellent results. Aside from the website by Shreyas, Aydean, Andrew and Kathir chosen to represent Iowa at the National Contest, Hannah He’s paper reached the finals. Ahana Devedas‘ documentary placed third and is the alternate to Nationals in D.C.

Research on Turning Points in History

The National History Day competition requires students to research a topic related to a yearly theme.  The 2024 theme was, “Turning Points in History.” Students dig into primary sources, interpret data, create an argument proving the accuracy and importance of their interpretation, and create a historical paper, website, performance, documentary, or exhibit explaining their reasoning. NHD researchers develop skills  in evaluation of sources, development of context to understand historical and current events, and professional presentation and public speaking skills.

JMS competitors included:

Hannah He (9)  – Historical Paper

Abby Tu (9)- Individual Exhibit

Niko Meshesha (9) – Individual Website

JHS competitors included:

Ahana Devedas (10) – Individual Documentary

Adonawit Meshesha (11) and Lauren Weber (11) – Group Documentary

Raya Cruse (10) and Taylor Brown (10) – Group Website

Kathir Kalyanaraman (11), Andrew Bogue (11), Aydean Bejtovic (11), Shreyas Shrestha (11) – Group Website

Johnston students will be among 3,000 at nationals

Each year, nearly 3,000 students with their families and teachers gather at the University of Maryland, College Park for the weeklong National Contest. They come from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Department of Defense Schools in the Atlantic, and international schools in China, Korea, and elsewhere (NHD International). Johnston will be among those represented this year.