KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - About 100 middle and high school students competed in the Kaiserslautern district-level National History Day Competition Feb. 16 at Ramstein High School.

This 36-year-old program promotes the study of citizenship and civics through the construction of history-based projects, said Bamma McCoy, a RHS social studies teacher and this year's Kaiserslautern district-level coordinator.

"We are always worried about standards and what kids learn," said McCoy, who has been involved with NHD since 1985 in Texas, Virginia and three years in Kaiserslautern.

"Well, National History Day covers all the national standards for social studies and language arts."

McCoy added that Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe has participated in NHD for about six years.

Students throughout DODDS-E schools have been creating projects since November.

McCoy said this involves students picking their own topics, researching, making conclusions, and writing process papers and annotated bibliographies.

"They become experts on their topics," McCoy said.

In January, each school picked first- and second-place winners in the junior (sixth to eighth graders) and senior (ninth to twelfth graders) divisions in eight categories: Individual and Group Performances; Individual and Group Exhibits; Individual and Group Documentaries; Papers; and, Web Sites.

These winners from middle and high schools in the Kaiserslautern, Baumholder, Bitburg and Spangdahlem military communities competed in this district-level contest.

Each of the students' projects had to be in line with this year's theme of "Innovation and History: Impact and Change."

"(National History Day) gives those kids the higher-level thinking skills because not only do they have to research, but they also have to think abut the research that they are doing to show impact and change," said Erin Wilkinson, a RHS Substitute teacher and judge for the NHD Group Exhibits.

"They have to present that leap from here is my fact to here is what I think abut that fact."

The top two in each category and division from this contest will now head to the DODDS-E competition held April 20 and 21 at Oberwesel, Germany.

The National contest is in June at the University of Maryland College Park Campus.