- Justin McClelland Contributing Writer
From Ancient Greece to World War II, from medieval times to mid-century America, a group of students in the Beavercreek School District showcased their history knowledge at a major competition.
Eight students from Ferguson and Ankeney Middle Schools in the Beavercreek School District participated in a multi-state History Bee in Lexington, KY, earlier this month. Six of the eight students qualified from that bee to compete in a national history bee in Atlanta in June.
In the history bee students are tested in a quiz show format on all areas of history. A total of 100 students from Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee participated in the Lexington regionals.
Since history is such a broad topic, the elite eight of Beavercreek have interests in a variety of periods and for nearly as many reasons.
“I love the French revolution because I’m a Broadway nerd,” said Lauren Anderson, 12, a sixth grader at Ferguson. “Les Miserables is my all-time favorite musical and that’s what really got me into the French Revolution.”
Matthew Riekens, a 13-year-old eighth grader at Ankeney also enjoys studying the French Revolution, but for different reasons.
“It’s just a fascinating period of history with the push to democracy and then they fall back into monarchy and the struggle continues,” Riekens said. “Napoleon is a really interesting historical figure.”
“History is far and away my favorite subject at school,” said Robby Holstein, 13, a seventh grader at Ankeney. “There’s just so much that has already happened and so many cool things that has led to the current state of the world.”
Alex Kearns, a 14-year-old eighth grader said he enjoys studying Ancient Greece and Rome.
“The insights their historians and philosophers had in their writings are still very relevant today,” Kearns said. “I think that’s just fascinating.”
“History just makes sense and it explains a lot about what’s going on today,” said William Wilson, a 13-year-old eighth grader at Ankeney. “If you pay attention you can see patterns that repeat and a lot of cause-and-effect stuff.”
To qualify for the history bee, every student at Ferguson and Ankeney took a written test. The top four scorers from each school then took an online test to qualify for the regionals. Remarkably, every one of the eight Beavercreek-area students who took the online test qualified to compete in Lexington. At the regionals, the students were broken into groups of ten and given 90 questions in a quiz show format.
“It was very competitive,” said David Cohen, 13, a seventh grader at Ferguson. “They would just start reading the question and like four words in, somebody would buzz in. A lot of times I knew the answer but couldn’t buzz in fast enough.”
The students prepared for the History Bee in a variety of ways. Robert Reid, 13, an eighth grader at Ankeney watched the television series “A Crash Course in World History” and took several online quizzes.
“The show provided insight into numerous periods in history,” Reid said. “It was really helpful.”
Nick Hann, a 12-year-old seventh grader took his own crash course, reading “two or three” history encyclopedias on the car ride from Beavercreek to Louisville.
“I didn’t get car sick, which was good,” Hann said. “I just tried to cram in as much as possible.”
In the end, Anderson, Cohen, Hann, Holstein, Reid, and Riekens qualified for the national history bee finals.