National History Bee Action at Friends' Central
National History Bee Action at Friends' Central

On Thursday, April 19, Friends' Central welcomed over 340 people, including 150 Middle School student qualifiers from public and private schools in the tri-state area, to host the Regional Finals of the Middle School National History Bee. Four Friends' Central Middle Schoolers qualified for and participated in the Regional Finals, and based on their performance at Regionals, two students qualified for National Finals. In addition, six Upper School students competed in the National History Bee and Bowl Varsity and JV National Championships, which took place the weekend of April 27-29.

Friends’ Central Middle School students Theo Dankoff, Dev Gupta, Emilio Ovalle, and Alec Plante finished among the top 120 in the region on the Online Regional Qualifying Exam (ORQE), making them eligible to participate in the Regional Finals of the National History Bee. All four students who participated in taking the regional exam qualified. Based on their outstanding performance at the Regional Finals, Theo Dankoff and Emilio Ovalle qualified for the National Finals, and Theo Dankoff also qualified to participate in the U.S. Geography Olympiad; both competitions take place on June 1 and 2 in Atlanta, Ga.

This was the sixth consecutive year that Friends’ Central’s Middle School participated in the National History Bee and the fifth year FCS has hosted the Regional Finals. Friends’ Central Middle School teachers Jebb Chagan and Rae Esformes, co-coordinators of the MS History Bee, worked for months to prep students for the competition, which tests students’ knowledge of U.S. and non-U.S. history. “Over the course of the last six years, it has been exciting to see our young people compete in this national competition, joining a select group of some of the best young minds in the country,” said Chagan. “Rae and I met with our Middle School participants from November through Winter Break to prepare them to qualify for the Regional Finals. After taking the online exam in January, all four of our students qualified, then worked very hard, from weekly meetings to digital study guides to practicing with a buzzer system similar to the one used in the competition. For our Middle Schoolers who participated and those who qualified to compete at the National Finals, the entire Friends’ Central community is especially proud.”

In the Upper School division, six Friends’ Central students competed in the Regional History Bee and Bowl Competition and advanced to the National History Bee and Bowl Varsity and JV National Championships the weekend of April 27-29 in Arlington, Va. Sara Bergmann ’19, Ben Klein ’19, Marielle Buxbaum ’20, Ryan Jokelson ’20, Peter Salgado ’19, and Emma Velinsky ’19 represented Friends’ Central at the National Championships. About the experience of participating in this year’s National History Bee and Bowl, Ben Klein ’19 shared, “It was a great utilization of what we have picked up over the years through the expansive FCS history department. It also serves as a way to hone our memorization skills, comprehension, and ability to connect those skills together so we could answer questions. We prepped by coming up with study guides to distinguish easily confusable topics (i.e. different treaties, Supreme Court cases, etc). Mr. Chagan has done great work encouraging students to pursue this opportunity, often singling out students that secretly know more than they let on.”

Congratulations to all Middle and Upper School students who participated in this exciting competition, and good luck to the Middle School students competing in Nationals!