NHD Nominee, Heather Damario

Heather Damario, a teacher at West Valley High School in Fairbanks, has been nominated for the National History Day (NHD) Hannah E. (Liz) MacGregor Teacher of the Year award.

Active in both History Day and Model UN, Damario is pictured here at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City during while chaperoning a group of students to a Model UN conference at Yale.

Each of the 58 National History Day affiliates may nominate one high school teacher for this award, and Damario is the senior division nominee from Alaska. Dr. James F. Harris sponsors this award in recognition of the pivotal role teachers play in the lives of students. Nominees’ work must clearly illustrate the development and use of creative teaching methods that interest students in history, and help them make exciting discoveries about the past.

Nominees for the $10,000 award are teachers who demonstrate a commitment to engaging students in historical learning through the innovative use of primary sources, implementation of active learning strategies to foster historical thinking skills, and participation in the National History Day Contest.

“Teachers are among the greatest resources students have to develop the skills necessary to become critical thinkers,” notes National History Day Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “The nominees for the MacGregor Award have shown a dedication to teaching that goes beyond the classroom. I congratulate Mrs. Damario on her well-deserved nomination.”

As a rule, the national winner of this award is named and recognized during the summer competition in Maryland, but this is no ordinary year. The 2020 competition is entirely virtual, something that Alaska has been doing for years. In fact, this week volunteers across the state are judging the Alaska History Day competition as virtual entries - innovators once again!

Alaska History Day engages more than 1,000 Alaskan students annually in creating independent research projects that explore stories of the past. The program is coordinated at the state level by the Alaska Humanities Forum, which hosts the 2020 online state contest.

About National History Day: National History Day is a non-profit organization based in College Park, Maryland, which seeks to improve the teaching and learning of history. The National History Day Contest was established in 1974 and currently engages more than half a million students every year in conducting original research on historical topics of interest. Students present their research as a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website.

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