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NHD Wins National Medal for the Humanities

February 13, 2012

medal

Dear NHD Philly Friends and Supporters:

It is with great excitement that I open this letter to you. National History Day is being awarded one of our nation's highest honors, the National Medal for the Humanities in the East Room of the White House by President and Mrs. Obama and Endowment Chair, James A. Leach.

The medal honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities, broadened citizens’ engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans' access to important resources in the humanities.

This award honors the work of the NHD program nationwide, reflecting the contributions that each regional and state NHD has contributed to make NHD a national "best of the best". In awarding this medal, the White House says: "National History Day is a program that inspires in American students a passion for history. Each year more than half a million children from across the country compete in this event, conducting research and producing websites, papers, performances, and documentaries to tell the human story."

You can also read the White House's announcement of all Humanities Medalists at: White House Press Office.

The National Humanities Medal is rarely given to organizations. Cathy Gorn, NHD Executive Director wrote to Ang and me saying: "I am thrilled to inform you that National History Day has been chosen to receive the National Medal for the Humanities. This is the ultimate honor for us all!"

I hope all of you will join in appreciating what this award means and will celebrate our local accomplishments in bringing this distinguished to Philadelphia students and teachers. Our local program is a flagship in the national program and the national program frequently refers others to us to learn our best practices. We have made significant contributions to the program, including our hosting of the 2009 National Summer Institute and our most recent innovation, the Cultural Fieldwork Initiative with Temple University, training emerging teachers. Together, we are also producing some outstanding education outcomes, while building new audiences for our region's heritage and cultural assets and improving the quality of life. It is your support and service to this initiative have built Philadelphia's reputation as a leader in the national NHD program. Thank you so much!

Right now we are moving into the final leg of preparations for our 6th NHD Philly Competition Can you believe that it's been that long since we started as a small program with 175 students?! And, now Philadelphia is the largest NHD competition in Pennsylvania! We are expecting about 900 students at our regional competition this year. This is another jump in school participation!

I am asking you now to help the program reach out and find donors, who can help us continue to provide scholarship awards to every students who qualifies for the PA State Finals. We've been able to keep this promise to Philadelphia students for 5 years now, providing over $60,000 in scholarships. We have reduced or eliminated the economic barriers that often keep many local kids from participating. As a special supporter and friend of NHD Philly, you know first-hand how this program has impacted the lives of kids and schools in our region.

Please pass along this newsletter, which speaks about the program and our scholarship fund. We will be contacting our on-going institutional scholarship supporters shortly, but would appreciate help in reaching new sources of support. If you are able also to give a contribution yourself, please know that no gift is too small and all gifts are appreciated. Let's make this year's competition another record-breaker!