ANCHORAGE -

Students from several communities in Alaska were selected April 1 to participate in the National History Day contest in Maryland, including 17 Anchorage kids who won at their schools' State History Day competitions.

Every year, millions of students across the U.S. begin a school-year-long research project that centers on an annual theme related to America’s past. State-level winners will travel to the University of Maryland in College Park to take part in the national competition in June.

Representing Alaska are 51 middle and high school students from Fairbanks, Chugiak, Anchorage, and Haines. They will each present their own unique take on this year's theme: rights and responsibilities in history.

According to an ASD press release on the winners, winning topics include Project Chariot, Slavery in West African Cocoa Plantations, the Unangan Internment, and Alice Paul's Fight for a Woman's Right to Vote.

Historians and education professionals judge the more than 3,000 projects each year, which may be submitted under several mediums: museum-type exhibit, video documentary, original performance, traditional research paper, or website. Scholarships amounting to $250,000 will be awarded, as well as 100 cash prizes ranging in value from $250 to $5,000.