Chief Umtuch student advancing to National History Day tourney in Washington D.C.


An eighth grader at Chief Umtuch Middle School in Battle Ground will travel to Washington D.C. in June after she qualified for the National History Day (NHD) National Contest.

Nicole Terry earned second place at the state competition in Kirkland in April with her website project on the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) founded in 1943 and dissolved in 1944. During the Second World War, the U.S. military had a shortage of male pilots stateside, according to Terry’s project. In 1941, Jacqueline Cochran and Nancy Love addressed that shortage by creating two new programs allowing women to ferry military planes, which evolved into the WASP. In the program, women ferried airplanes to the military bases across the country or performed flight testing on the aircrafts, freeing men to fly more combat missions, according to Terry’s project.

She began planning for her eighth-grade project last school year while a student in Beth Doughty’s class. Doughty is a seventh/eighth-grade ASPIRE teacher at Chief Umtuch Middle School.

Terry said Doughty’s project on the Women’s Army Corps started her fascination with the WASP program.

“So the thing that set Nicole apart was that she actually started working on [her project] on her own last summer,” Doughty said, adding she receives the next year’s NHD theme in May. “And so when I told her, she started like, ‘I already have an idea.’ So she kind of built on that, and then she spent the summer doing some basic research, so when we came in the fall and started doing the process, she was already ready to go and was kind of a couple steps ahead of everybody else.”

This year’s theme is “Turning Points in History” to mark NHD’s 50th anniversary. Doughty enjoys the broadness of NHD’s annual themes as it allows her students to choose a topic they’re passionate about as they spend months working on their projects.

With the contest taking place at the University of Maryland, College Park, near Washington D.C., Terry is excited to explore the nation’s capital and visit museums with Doughty. For the contest, Terry will meet with judges who will ask her questions based on her website, which they have already navigated. Terry turned in the website project last week, so now Doughty and her are preparing for the trip in June.

Terry said she is excited to travel to D.C. Doughty added they will visit the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building and possibly the Holocaust Museum and the National Archives, among other destinations at the National Mall.

Terry’s project on the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots can be found at home.

A pair of eighth-grade students earned a special award at the state competition for their documentary on the military capabilities of submarines, as well. Elliott Rogers and Elias Kunda found their topic by spinning a wheel with other topics they were interested in, Rogers said.

“We were first interested in the invention of the first submarine and how it progressed throughout the years but we found that the first couple submarines … didn’t have much information on it, and so we also realized that the most important factor of submarines is combat capability,” Rogers said.

They said it was surprisingly easy to compile enough media and information to make a 10-minute documentary about submarines from mostly World War II to the Cold War. Kunda and Rogers may not be advancing to nationals like Terry, but they are pleased to have earned a Maritime Combat Award at the state level.

Their project can be viewed at

Lorelai Wilde, a first-year student for NHD, wanted to do her website project on the internet as she said that’s a really big part of her life. She opted to focus her research on search engines. Wilde said her biggest struggle in her first year was time management. Her project can be found at

Doughty believes participating in NHD allows middle school students to gain valuable skills for further education and day-to-day life, such as time management.

“I’ve had so many students who come back to me after all these years and thank me. They say how much they hated doing bibliographies and articulating their thoughts, but they feel, like, light years ahead,” Doughty said. “They did this project, and then, now, they’re in college, and they said, ‘I haven’t done anything that difficult since I’m in college.’ And these are [currently] seventh and eighth graders, and the things that they do and the work that they do is phenomenal.”