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Enthusiasm and Passion Mark the History Bowl Team’s Venture to Nationals

Students on the newly formed WHRHS History Bowl Team participate in the National History Bowl

WHRHS+History+Bowl+Team+competes+at+the+2017+National+History+Bowl+in+Arlington%2C+VA
WHRHS History Bowl Team competes at the 2017 National History Bowl in Arlington, VA

WHRHS History Bowl Team competes at the 2017 National History Bowl in Arlington, VA

Kevin Tan

Kevin Tan

WHRHS History Bowl Team competes at the 2017 National History Bowl in Arlington, VA

Lindsay Fogel, Student News Editor

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Despite its recent establishment, the WHRHS History Bowl Team has surpassed expectations during its first year of operation through their continued success at preliminary competitions and attendance of the National History Bowl in Arlington, Virginia. However, before addressing the students’ efforts and commitment to the team in their venturing to Nationals, it is imperative to begin with the team’s origins.

Kevin Tan, president and founder of the club, “was inspired to create the WHRHS History Bowl Team after participating in the 2016 United States Geography Olympiad National Championships almost exactly one year ago.” Through his involvement in this competition, Kevin “saw that teams consisting of students from all over the country participated [in the National History Bowl],” noting that “these students were so enthusiastic and passionate about their subject. [He] thought it would be great if Watchung Hills had its own history bowl team that would operate under the same passion as these teams at the competition. Thus, the WHRHS History Bowl Team was born.”

From this point onward, the club gained momentum as numerous Watchung Hills students with a common passion joined together to hone in on their skills, review materials, and prepare for competitions. Questions asked at these buzzer-based competitions “[encompass] all different aspects of history, including ancient history, European history, US history, art history, military history, and contemporary history” according to Tan.

In terms of preparation, Tan explained that the majority of their preparation for the competitions stemmed from their history courses in school. “The history department at Watchung Hills definitely prepared us a lot for the competition; we used so much of the knowledge we gained in our history classes in our matches. Notable examples included the speaker of the quote, ‘Liberty and union, now and forever!’ (Daniel Webster) and the border conflict that occurred between Maine and Canada (the Aroostook War). I would like to thank the Watchung Hills history department for greatly contributing to our success at Nationals!”

History Bowl Team advisor Mr. Hodge emphasized the dedication of each team member in readying themselves for the competitions: “Students met weekly after school, broke into 2 teams and competed with one another in preparation for the Nationals. They also met informally and read question sets to prepare for the competition.”

After reviewing and studying the numerous aspects of history tested at the National History Bowl, and planning the logistics of the trip, the WHRHS History Bowl Team headed to Arlington on April 21, where they “played a total of 10 matches against schools from all over the country” as Tan stated. The outcomes of the matches on April 22 include Watchung Hills’ two groups competing: Watchung Hills A and Watchung Hills B. Team A “achieved a 5-5 record in the 10 matches they played,and Watchung Hills B achieved a 2-8 record.”

All team members were incredibly proud of these records considering it was the first year of operation and thus first time attending the National History Bowl. Additionally, both divisions from Watchung Hills faced tough competition, including playing against a team ranked 4th highest in the country and another ranked 25th highest.

Mr. Hodge was proud of the team’s accomplishments, stating that “The team showed dedication and demonstrated broad historical knowledge. They collaborated effectively and supported one another by rotating team members, discussing weaknesses, making supportive comments and simply maintaining a friendly and cohesive relationship . . . . With the upcoming AP tests, other extracurricular activities and life obligations, they did what they could and performed admirably.”

Other factors of the competition itself contributed to the enjoyment of the team as well, as Kevin emphasized that he enjoyed “seeing how so many people across the country were passionate about the subject of history, just like we were. It was amazing to see how one competition brought together over one hundred teams filled with history enthusiasts from all corners of the United States.” Furthermore, the competitions resulted in a greater sense of togetherness and a common bond for teammates as it “brought [students] together not only as classmates, but as teammates and friends . . . representing our school at a national competition.

Moving forward, the members of the WHRHS History Bowl Team have high hopes for future competitions, including placing higher in a return to Nationals. In order to achieve these goals, Kevin mentioned the implementation of “a more rigorous studying agenda” that, coupled with “more experience with this style of competition,” will enable the team “to achieve this.”

The hard work of all involved has allowed the team to see great success and attend Nationals in only five months, and Tan offered his thanks to both Mr. Hodge, the club’s “advisor, and each and every one of the team member’s dedication and enthusiasm to the club. Their commitment to success and passion for the subject was what allowed us to come this far.”

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Enthusiasm and Passion Mark the History Bowl Team’s Venture to Nationals