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Columbia Academy Students Take First Place in the State History Day Competition

Columbia Academy (CA) students Danchau Le and Daphne Kleinschmit placed first in the Minnesota State History Day Competition, qualifying them for nationals.

National History Day is an interdisciplinary research project for students in grades 6-12 teaching students to conduct in-depth research, use primary and secondary sources, analyze and synthesize information, and write and present historical content. This year’s theme was “Communication in History: The Key to Understanding.”

Le and Kleinschmit created a website titled: “Navajo Code Talkers: The Unbreakable Code.” Their win was announced May 2 at the State History Day ceremony. The National History Day Contest will be held virtually June 13-19.

“Danchau and Daphne worked incredibly hard on their website this year,” said CA Social Studies Teacher Hannah Howe, who coaches History Day participants along with CA Geography Teacher Chris Mason. “Not only did they make it all the way to nationals their first year participating in the competition, but they did it during a pandemic.”

According to Le, the process seemed intimidating from the beginning, but “the hard work was really rewarding!”

“It was really hard to get our information, but it paid off!” said Kleinschmit.

The students were recognized at the May 11, 2021 School Board Meeting.

To learn more about State History Day or to watch the virtual awards ceremony, visit For more information about National History Day 2021 National Contest visit