By Emilie Chau
For the first time in Piedmont Hills history, PHHS History Team competed in the national history team competition in Washington DC from April 21 to 23 after making it past regionals at Saratoga High School and state at UC Berkeley.
In order to qualify for the state competition, a team has to get at least an even number of wins and losses at regionals. At state, the history team did better than they did at regionals despite the increasing difficulty of the questions and thus qualified for nationals.
At the competitions, the teams are split into different groups consisting of one to four players. During the different rounds, one group goes into a classroom and faces off another group from another school. The moderator will ask questions and each group has to buzz in their answer. Once the round is finished, each group will go to another classroom to compete against another group.
At nationals, the teams are separated into brackets based on their performance at state and PHHS History Team was able to defeat the six schools in their bracket, winning a plaque for their accomplishment
The History Team prepared for the events by doing drills and practicing recalling historical facts quickly.
“The trick to practicing is recalling the information quickly,” explains social studies teacher Amanda James. “And that is the thing that is harder for most people to do.”
Flying out to Washington DC was no easy task. When the team won the privilege to compete at nationals, there was no time for the team to complete the long paperwork clubs need in order to participate in off campus activities. Furthermore, the team wasn’t able to use any school funds because the competition was not a school sanctioned trip. The History Team then decided to raise the money themselves in order to go to Washington DC.
“President Nala Chen and Secretary Matthew Hoang were really the driving force behind doing as many last minute fundraisers as they could,” comments Ms. James. “They did a GoFundMe, begged and borrowed from families and I think that the players that went made their families really know what a rare opportunity this was.”
Currently, the History Team is aiming to compete in the International History Olympiad next summer in Berlin, Germany. The team qualified for this competition by finishing in the top half of the schools who competed at nationals in Washington DC.
“I’ve been a part of history team since my freshman year and meetings have always been my favorite time of the week,” smiles club President Nala Chen. “It’s super satisfying to get recognized for our hard work!” ♦