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2019-20 Program Year

2019-20 Theme

The theme for the 2019-20 school year is "Breaking Barriers in History." This is a completely new theme for NHD! At first glance it seems fairly straightforward; however, sometimes things are not always what they seem. Students first task is to think carefully and critically
about what “breaking barriers” means before they choose a topic to research. Barriers can be physical, natural, or ideological. It is common to assume a barrier is a negative thing—created by people and societies, keeping them from the freedom to move or think for themselves. However, students can also explore the other side. What barriers have had positive consequences in history? How about barriers against the spread of disease? Against pollution? Did the Founders include barriers to protect democracy when they created the Constitution? As you consider possible topics related to the theme, you can explore the theme further in these resources below:

2020 Theme Book  

2020 Theme Webinar  

2020 Theme Organizer Worksheet  

Suggested N.C. History Topics for 2020 Theme 

Regional Contests

North Carolina is divided into seven regions for History Day competitions. Students must first participate in their assigned regional contest, then the finalists from that region will advance to the state competition. As soon as you decide to participate, we strongly suggest contacting your regional and state coordinators so that they can keep you up-to-date on contest information and assist you throughout the process.

Contest Date/Location Counties Covered Coordinator

Chowan University

Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Gates, Hertford, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans

Dr. Edward Snyder

Central Piedmont

March 28, 2020
Alamance Community College

Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Cumberland, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Guilford, Harnett, Hoke, Johnston, Lee, Moore, Orange, Person, Randolph, Rockingham,Vance, Wake, Warren

Sherri Singer

(336) 506-4396


March 25, 2020
East Carolina University

Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Dare, Edgecombe, Greene, Halifax, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, Pamlico, Pitt, Tyrrell, Washington, Wayne, Wilson

Dr. Rick Hernandez
(252) 328-6155

Northwest Piedmont

March 20, 2020
Surry Community College

Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Iredell, Rowan, Stokes, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes, Yadkin

Richard Shelton
(336) 386-3236


March 24, 2020 - Junior Division (Middle School)
Cape Fear Museum

March 25, 2020 - Senior Division (High School)
Cape Fear Museum

Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Duplin, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender, Robeson, Sampson

Pepper Hill
(910) 798-4386

Southwest Piedmont

February 28, 2020
UNC Charlotte

Anson, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Gaston, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Richmond, Scotland, Stanly, Union

Victor Mack
(704) 687-8801


March 7, 2020
Western Carolina University

Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, McDowell, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Yancey

Jeff Futch
(828) 296-7230 ext. 222

State Contest

The 2020 North Carolina History Day contest will be held April 25th, 2020 at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. Please remember that you must first compete at the regional level in order to qualify for the state contest. You can find out information about your region and its contest in the chart above. If you have questions about the state contest, contact the State Coordinator, Karen Ipock, at or (919) 814-6639. 

National Contest

The top two projects from each category at the state contest qualify to attend the national contest in College Park, Maryland at the University of Maryland .  The 2020 national contest will be held Sunday, June 14th - Thursday, June 18th.  You can find out more information about the national contest here.