Last Sunday, the PHHS History Team faced off in the National History Bowl at Saratoga High School against other high schools.
The National History Bowl is a high school tournament that closely resembles a game of jeopardy in which two teams face one another by answering a wide variety of historic topics ranging from Greek history to contemporary famous athletes and actors.
To prepare for this competition, the history team took strides to cultivate their knowledge and review historical facts during their weekly meetings.
“We prepared for the competition through weekly meetings in which we look at past questions. Often, if one member answers a question incorrectly, we would have a small discussion about the question, thus improving the knowledge of the team. We also prepared by using Kahoot on various periods and topics in history,” remarked History Team President Vincent Han.
Outside of school, members also committed to practicing in their own ways.
“I prepared for the History Bowl by reading past questions every day to reinforce my memory before competition,” stated History Team member Ryan Nguyen. “If time allowed, I spent 30 minutes to an hour reading History Bowl related materials each day.”
As president, Vincent was also very ambitious in his preparation, taking time out of day to study various subjects relating to history as well as setting optimistic goals for the team.
“I read articles on Wikipedia and watched documentaries on YouTube and take notes to memorize more trivia. Through weekly meetings, I learned what are my strengths and weaknesses were and I improved myself by attacking these weaknesses through studying them thoroughly,” explained Vincent. “I do hope to improve significantly over our past tournaments. For example, we usually defeat one or two teams in the past, and this time we are trying to defeat three.
Participating in the History Bowl was also a Saratoga, Foothill, Palo Alto, Valley Christian and a home school team. During the battle, the PHHS History Team was able to exploit some of their strengths to gain an advantage.
“Some of the strengths we had included our ability to cooperate. For example, during each match we had to decide who to substitute out of the game and who to participate,” recalled Vincent.
Unfortunately, the team was only able to win one out of five rounds. Recognizing their mistakes, they strive to improve for next year. As of now, the overall rankings have not been release to the public.
“At the competition, my strategy was to play very aggressively which had its own strengths and weaknesses. I was able to answer some questions before other teams, but I also wasted opportunities by answering incorrectly early in the question,” recapped History Team member Ryan Nguyen. “The only way to improve from this is to keep studying what I missed.”
In the end though, while the History Team worked diligently to earn their rank, what they took away from the competition was a shared compassion of history with other students from different schools.
“Playing against our rival Foothill was the highlight of the competition. Though we couldn’t manage a win against them, I’m glad we were able to give them a good fight,” admitted Ryan.
Despite the fierce battle, each team showed chivalry and respect towards one another.
“I think my favorite part is always shaking hands with our opponents after our match and saying that it is a good game. This mannerism reminds me that, although it is a very fierce competition, friendship is still more important,” said Vincent. “Above all, however, I just wish that members can enjoy the tournament and put in all they have.”