Iowa Student Wins Grand Prize at National History Competition

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Stephen Frese of Marshalltown, Iowa, received the grand prize at the National History Day (NHD) awards ceremony today. The prize is a four-year, full tuition scholarship to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio valued at over $100,000.

Stephen Frese of Marshalltown, Iowa, received the grand prize at the National History Day (NHD) awards ceremony. The prize is a four-year, full tuition scholarship to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio valued at over $100,000.

Cathy Gorn, executive director of NHD recognized the achievements of Frese and all of the NHD student participants. Over half a million students annually participate in the NHD program. Frese, a student at Marshalltown High School, was chosen from a field of highly qualified applicants for this prestigious award.

Frese competed in the 2006 NHD competition with an original historical research paper on the life and career of Alexander Clark, a civil rights leader from Iowa. The paper is titled “From Emancipation to Equality: Alexander Clark's Stand for Civil Rights in Iowa.”

Clark was a barber that moved to Iowa in 1849 and worked to improve the status of blacks in the state. He petitioned the state to rescind legislation prohibiting the immigration of free blacks. In 1863, he organized the 1st Iowa Volunteers of African Descent, a Union Army regiment of 1,100 black soldiers that served during the Civil War. Clark also served as the publisher and editor of the “Chicago Conservator” and in 1890 Clark became the highest presidential appointment ever offered to a black man when he became the U.S. Minister to Liberia.

“Writing papers for National History Day has helped me improve my writing skills beyond what has been required in high school classes,” said Frese. “National History Day has been an amazing experience.

National History Day and Case Western Reserve University present the grand prize award each year to a student who demonstrates academic excellence and a dedication to historical study through competition in the National History Day program. Frese’s commitment to performing well in high school and in NHD pushed him to the forefront of a pool of talented individuals.

NHD is a yearlong, nonprofit education organization dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of history in elementary and secondary schools through publications and education programs. The program annually involves millions of people and makes history come alive for students across the United States. Through the program, students develop critical thinking and research skills by creating exhibits, performances, documentaries and papers they may enter in competitions at the district, state and national levels.

NHD provides educational services to teachers, including curricular materials and Internet resources, and annual teacher workshops and training institutes.

More than 2,000 students from 49 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa and Department of Defense schools participated in the 2006 NHD contest. During the competition, students presented research addressing the NHD theme, “Taking a Stand in History: People. Ideas, Events.”

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