(The following was written by Rebeka Bell about the participation of herself and partner, Madison Huynh, in National History Day. Bell and Huynh will be freshmen at Nevada High School this fall.)

Madison and I had a great time on our trip to Washington, D.C.! We went a lot of places. We flew in Saturday night, and boy, the first few hours were an adventure. My dad and I flew into D.C. about 10 p.m. We took a shuttle to the (University of Maryland) campus, but the shuttle guys couldn’t find the campus at first! So we ended up driving around for about an hour before the guy dropped us off. Then we couldn’t find the building we were staying in, so by the time we actually found the rooms, got checked in and got our keys, it was 2:30 a.m.

Sunday we had a "Team Iowa" meeting, where everyone from Team Iowa got to meet each other. The welcome ceremony was a lot of fun, too. Everyone from all the states and other countries gathered for the first time that week.

We got judged Monday at 10 a.m., which was nice because it was the first day of judging, and we were the first ones to be judged, so we had the rest of the week to go sightseeing. After we got judged, I remember Mr. Davis (middle school history teacher), his wife, Madison’s family and my dad and I heading to the metro to go explore D.C. a bit.

Tuesday and Wednesday were both sightseeing days where we got to see monuments like the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, World War II Memorial and more.

Thursday morning we had the awards ceremony. My favorite part of that was the Parade of States, because all the states were fighting for the camera. Iowa ended up playing the game ninja in the center of the gym we were in, and we got on TV multiple times. We didn’t end up placing, but we received a Chronicling America award for using newspapers from the Chronicling America website. We were proud to represent Iowa at the National level!

My favorite thing about the trip was going to see the Air and Space Museum.

Madison gave her list of "top five things to see" in Washington, DC, as: 1) the Lincoln Memorial, 2) Declaration of Independence, 3) Crime and Punishment Museum, 4) Ford’s Theatre and 5) The house where President Lincoln died. And her "top five things about history day" were: 1) making it to nationals, 2) going to districts and state, 3) learning about a topic she didn’t know anything about, 4) having Mrs. Ross to help and 5) going to Washington, D.C. with Mr. Davis and his wife.