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Ninth-grader wins National History Day competition

Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

National History Day is a non-profit organization that gives middle and high school students an opportunity to do in-depth research into a historical topic and present their findings in a number of innovative ways. It’s also a competition and Caleb Sinnwell, a ninth-grade student in the Nashua-Plainfield school district in north Iowa won the 2021 Junior Individual Website first place award.

For a year, Sinnwell researched, wrote and developed a website designed to teach people about the "Ghost Army" of World War II. His work has also inspired a bipartisan bill that is heading to the U.S. Senate in hopes of honoring the troops that served in this top-secret WWII Army unit with the Congressional Gold Medal. Sinnwell and his teacher Suzan Turner join host Charity Nebbe to talk about this great achievement.

Later, operatic soprano Jessica Faselt, who grew up near Kalona, speaks with Nebbe about her life in New York City as part of the Lindemann Young Artist Program at the Metropolitan Opera. Also, Kelsey Madsen of Cedar Rapids discusses her decision to move back to Iowa after performing as a singer on cruise ships and as a dancer in New York City.


  • Caleb Sinnwell, ninth grader, Nashua-Plainfield High School
  • Suzan Turner, 6-12 teacher, instruction coach and National History Day advisor at Nashua-Plainfield High School
  • Jessica Faselt, Iowa native and opera singer who has performed at the New York Metropolitan Opera for the past three years
  • Kelsey Madsen, singer-songwriter and music education major at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Rick Brewer was a producer for IPR's Talk of Iowa and River to River