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Meredith Gelles Places First in National History Contest

Meredith Gelles wearing "National History Day" t-shirt standing in front of brick wall.

Congratulations to rising 9th-grader Meredith Gelles, who is the first Radnor Township School District student to win first place in the National History Day (NHD) national contest and earn designation as a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) scholar.

Meredith was named a winner in the individual website category for her project "Healing Through Repatriation: the Debates and Diplomacy Behind the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act." She was recognized during a virtual awards ceremony on June 18.

"[Meredith] chose an original topic and reached out to local Native Americans and museum curators for information," said her 8th-grade social studies teacher Jay Echternach in an email. "She also completed exhaustive research online and with the help of library print materials. Her hard work paid off and her project rose to the top."

Meredith was one of only 2,700 students nationally that presented their historical findings through documentaries, exhibits, performances, posters, websites, papers and podcasts at the final ceremony. She placed first in her category at the local contest in West Chester, PA and second place at the state contest in Scranton, PA to advance to nationals.

NHD is a year-long educational program that engages students in grades 6-12 in the process of discovery and interpretation of historical topics. Students produce dramatic performances, imaginative exhibits, multimedia documentaries, websites and research papers based on research related to the annual theme, "Debate & Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences."

To view a full list of 2022 NHD winners and finalists, visit

Congratulations, Meredith!