NHD Winners at Bothell prepare for another year


NHD logo from nhd.org

The National History Day contest is one of the most prestigious academic competitions in the U.S. According to the National History Day website, more than half a million students from the U.S. take part in the competition annually as well as some international entries. The competition encourages students to dive deeper into history as well as hone their critical thinking, researching, and problem-solving skills.

In last year’s competition, Bothell students Alex Dimov (‘22) and Samarth Venkatesh (‘22) finished first in the state in the group website categories and finished in fifth place in their preliminary group for the national competition.

Dimov and Venkatesh were separately introduced to the National History Day contest in eighth grade by their history teachers, Mr. Tupper and Mr. Boniface, and weren’t immediately hooked on the idea of a big academic project. Venkatesh had heard from upperclassmen that NHD was tedious and wasn’t looking forward to it. However, he “found the research and analysis to be an enjoyable experience.” Two years later the two teamed up to make the outstanding duo that they are now. 

For the National History Day contest, each individual or team competing gets to choose a medium that they are going to do their project in. For Dimov, the choice to do a website was pretty simple. He has chosen to do a website every year that he has participated in the National History Day Contest and liked the “general blend of blend of images and text” that websites enable. For Venkatesh, the choice was a little different. Venkatesh started off doing exhibit boards, but disliked the medium because of its “extremely restrictive” word count at 500 words and hands-on projects not being his forte. The next year Venkatesh chose to do a website because “I trusted my web design skills and 1200 words was much more manageable than 500.” 

After choosing the medium for their National History Day projects, the contestants then have to pick a historical event that fits in with the theme of the year’s contest. Last year the theme was Breaking Barriers. When Dimov and Venkatesh heard the theme they immediately thought of the Perry Expedition. 

As I learned from Mr. Klee in Ap World History last year, the Perry Expedition was an expedition by the U.S. to Japan to get Japan to reopen itself to the world after Japan closed itself off in the early 1600s under the Sakoku policy. Dimov came up with the idea after hearing about it in a YouTube video and they chose to go with it because the Perry Expedition “connected with the theme of the year, and had impacts both in the short and long term that were significant in global history and Japanese History.” Together Dimov and Venkatesh made their website titled Breaking Barriers, Changing Commerce.

This year, Dimov and Venkatesh are once again going to compete in the National History Day competition together with their new team member Nathan Hendrickson (’22). The 2021 NHD theme is Communication in History and the trio is planning on doing a website on the Sedition Act of 1798.