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National History Day in Massachusetts


Ms. Suzanne Zmijewski Lim of Chenery Middle School in Belmont named 2021 National History Day Teacher of the Year

BOSTON (June 2021)—The Massachusetts Historical Society is pleased to announce that Ms. Suzanne Zmijewski Lim, an eighth grade teacher at Winthrop L. Chenery Middle School in Belmont, Massachusetts, won the Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award for the junior division (grades 6-8) of the 2021 National History Day Contest. The award is sponsored by Patricia Behring in recognition of the pivotal role teachers play in the lives of students. As the winner of this award, Mrs. Lim will receive $10,000.

Each of the 58 National History Day affiliates could nominate one middle school teacher for this award, and Ms. Zmijewski was the nominee from Massachusetts. Ms. Zmijewski Lim has been teaching National History Day students and teachers for 26 years. Over the course of her career, she has both inspired and witnessed the powerful impact NHD has made on her students.

“Sue is an exceptionally talented teacher, admired by colleagues, administration, and students alike,” said Dr. Elyssa Tardif, Director of Education at the Massachusetts Historical Society. “Her warmth and guidance are remembered by students years after they’ve left her classroom. In fact, one past NHD student wrote: ‘your class as well as the whole NHD experience helped me love learning and believe in myself more.’ Sue embodies the best of what NHD teachers can offer students, and we are incredibly proud to have her representing the entire NHD in Massachusetts program.”

“Ms. Zmijewski Lim is such an important asset and advocate for her students and colleagues,” said Dr. Cathy Gorn, National History Day Executive Director. “She challenges her students to embrace the full breadth of historical research and critical analysis, and she changes lives. I congratulate Ms. Zmijewski Lim for winning this award, and offer my thanks for her many years of dedication to teaching the valuable skills of NHD.”

Ms. Zmijewski Lim was presented this award during National History Day’s livestreamed National Contest Awards Ceremony on Saturday, June 19, 2021. The annual competition and ceremony took place as scheduled this year, but were conducted remotely due to COVID-19 safety measures.

Important Contest Announcements for 2022 Regional Contests

This year, as we work to rebuild and strengthen participation in NHD across the state, we will be holding two regional contests and one state contest (see Contest Info page for details). We anticipate that all contests will be held in person, with accommodations available for those who need them. 

Once we have a better sense of participation numbers, we will assign schools to their particular regional contest. We will use the two-contest model for 2022, and re-evaluate for 2023 based on participation next year. 

We plan to hold our 2022 National History Day competitions in person. However, in case health guidelines change we are also asking students to submit their materials virtually for all five project categories in advance of competition day. Please see our virtual project page for details and instructions.

We will continue to update our Contest Info with more information as the contest season approaches. Please also download our NHD 2020-2021 Calendar for important dates and contest deadlines.

Important NHDWebCentral Announcement for 2022 Contest Season

Over the past few years NHD Nationals has made significant changes to the NHDWebCentral website builder, improving its usability and providing videos, FAQs, and detailed guides for how to build a website using their platform. However, we know that many students who are unfamiliar with the platform still find it challenging, and we do not want the website builder to be a barrier for participation.
To make NHD as accessible as possible, we have decided that for the 2022 regional and state contests, we will accept NHD websites created on alternative platforms such as Google or Microsoft, as long as students use their school account to do so. We will then offer assistance to any students heading to Nationals who need to move their website to NHDWebCentral, which is the only platform accepted at Nationals.

Please visit our Virtual Project Guidelines page for details of using an alternative website builder for the 2022 Massachusetts competitions. If you have any questions about student websites, please email us at

Upcoming Events and Program Offerings

Fall 2021 Teacher & Student Webinars

This fall, National History Day in MA will be partnering with our New England neighbors to offer a series of webinars to NHD teachers and students. Free and open to anyone who wants to join, these workshops will take place from 4-5 PM on the following dates:

A yellow and red poster with an image of the New England states and a Save the Date announcement for the webinars listed on this page

October 6: Intro and Theme. New to NHD or want a refresher? Interested in brainstorming ideas for this year's theme? Join us to talk all things NHD! Students and teachers welcome. Recording available.

November 1: Navigating NHDWebCentral. Join Alaina McNaughton from National History Day for a walk-through of how to build a website in NHDWebCentral, National History Day's official website builder! This webinar is open to all teachers and students. Recording available.

November 10: Local History Resources. Learn how to find local topics and resources in your own backyard! Recording available. Presenter slide show.

December 15: Primary Sources, Annotated Bibliographies, and Student Voice. We'll practice primary source analysis, discuss how to approach wide research in an annotated bibliography, and explore techniques for highlighting your own student voice in your project. Recording available.

January 18: Contest Nuts and Bolts. This virtual session is an overview of the NHD Massachusetts 2022 contest season and a chance to ask questions! We will review updates to the NHD rubric, how to use the registration web portal, contest season events, and any other questions you might have. Register here.

January 26: Evaluating Sources when Researching Indigenous People in History. Join Indigenous Educator Leah Hopkins (Narragansett) for this virtual workshop for teachers and students embarking on teaching and researching Indigenous histories.  Ms. Hopkins will cover topics such as how to recognize bias in sources, how to find Indigenous voices to include in your research, and where to find Indigenous-produced sources. Register here.

Check back soon, we will be adding more sessions as the year continues!

NHD MA Virtual Chat

This year NHD MA will be offering a Virtual Chat for students and teachers! Get your questions answered by MA coordinators or experienced NHD teachers in our virtual chat sessions. 
These sessions will take place every other Thursday afternoon from 3:30-4:30 PM. Drop in any time during the hour-long chat to ask your questions or brainstorm ideas with a NHD mentor. Here are the first upcoming sessions:
  • Thursday 9/9, 3:30-4:30 PM
  • Thursday 9/23, 3:30-4:30 PM
  • Thursday 10/7, 3:30-4:30 PM
  • Thursday 10/21, 3:30-4:30 PM
  • Thursday 11/4, 3:30-4:30 PM


Virtual Class Visits

NHD MA Coordinators Kate and Elyssa are ready to join you in your classroom!  We are offering free class presentations to any interested teachers.  Past virtual class topics have included:

  • Why NHD is AWESOME: Launching Your Program
  • The NHD Theme & Choosing a Topic
  • Conducting Research (Primary vs. Secondary Sources, Finding Sources Online, how to assess if a source is credible, etc.)
  • NHD Rules and Rubrics
  • Project Guidelines for the Five Categories
  • and much more (we take requests!)

If you're interested in having us visit your classroom and work with your students, email us at and we'll discuss details.  We look forward to seeing you on Zoom!