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2020 Teacher of Distinction Awards

For the third straight year the Naval Historical Foundation (NHF) will recognize talented middle and high school teachers whose students produce award winning projects having a naval or maritime theme in the annual National History Day (NHD) competition.

 Continuing a program started in 2018, NHF will present “Teacher of Distinction” awards to teachers whose students (i) win NHF’s annual Coskey Prizes for Naval History or (ii) are ranked first, second or third in their categories in the NHD national competition.

 Each year some 3,000 students and several hundred teachers take part in the NHD national competition at the University of Maryland in College Park.  This year the competition was scheduled for June 14-20.

  However, due to the coronavirus NHD Executive Director Cathy Gorn on March 24 announced that the competition would be conducted in a virtual format to ensure the safety of participants. ”It’s not ideal but canceling was never an option,” she said.  The virtual national competition will be in June.

   Every year NHD has a broad theme for the student projects. This year’s theme is, “Breaking Barriers in History.” 

  There are five project categories:  papers, exhibits, documentaries, websites, and performances.  Competition begins at individual schools, with the top middle and high school winners advancing to regional, state, and national competitions.  Some 600,000 students from the United States, District of Columbia, territories, and international schools in China, Korea and South Asia participate annually.

  Last year NHF’s Teacher of Distinction awards went to 11 teachers from around the county, two from middle schools, the other nine from high schools. The awards consist of $200 honorariums, NHF certificates of achievement, one-year NHF memberships, and access to NHF Navy-related research assistance.  

   The NHF Coskey Prizes are named after the late Captain Ken Coskey, a Navy pilot, Vietnam prisoner of war, and former NHF executive director.  The NHD prizes were established in 1999.  Every year since then NHF has awarded two Coskey Prizes to the top ranked projects in naval history.  Each prize is a $1,000 award. 

  “We’ve been pleased and honored to award the Coskey Prizes for 20 years now,” said Admiral William Fallon, USN (Ret.), NHF chairman. “But we thought it appropriate to also recognize the teachers who inspire the students to produce outstanding naval and maritime projects.  Teachers are on the front lines of education and often don’t get the recognition they deserve.” 

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