Grateful American™ Radio Show

August24episode

Cathy Gorn Brings National History Day to Life for 60,000+ Students


When the 2015 awards were presented for the 41st annual National History Day Contest on June 15, Cathy Gorn was grinning from ear to ear. “These are my kids,” says the woman who has been at the helm of the international organization for decades.

Indeed, more than 600,000 students from around the world competed in five categories: documentaries, exhibits, papers, performances, and websites.

Why did nearly 3,000 middle and high school students present their work related to the 2015 theme, Leadership and Legacy in History? What inspires a passion in history in the contestants from 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and international schools in Central America, China, Korea, and South Asia?

That’s what we’re here today to find out from National History Day’s Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn.

In this podcast interview Grateful American™ Foundation founder David Bruce Smith and executive producer Hope Katz Gibbs ask Gorn:

  • What is the genesis of National History Day, and how did you come to be involved?
  • How do you get hundreds of thousands of kids all over the world to spend an entire year preparing National History Day? What keeps them coming back year after year?
  • The judges must find it challenging to choose a winner. How does the judging actually work, and who are some of the judges who spend days each year working on this project with you?
  • Numerous awards are granted to both students and teachers including junior documentary, exhibit, paper, performance and website categories.
  • There are also entries in the senior documentary categories, which receive a $5,000 award from HISTORY®. Tell us about some of the other monetary awards you give out annually.
  • The “Outstanding Affiliate Entry” award is sponsored by the National Park Service. How did you come to work with this organization?
  • You also work closely with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. In fact, there’s a Night at the Museum exhibit there during the week-long event. Tell us more about that.
  • How can even more students get involved with National History Day?

Download the podcast now!

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