Thanks again for all your hard work, our kids LOVE being involved in these competitions. We have seen so much growth in them from last year to this year. They have each set personal goals, pushed themselves to study harder and came in to yesterday’s tournament with so much confidence. When Rachael had a tough first Geography preliminary round, she pulled herself together & refocused so that she could still make her goal of getting to finals in that category. We were so incredibly proud of the perseverance she showed yesterday. We are really so thrilled with the character traits this activity is helping our 10 year olds develop. Thanks so much for helping facilitate that opportunity for them. I’m also continually impressed that you always remember our children & greet them by name!
I was a National History Bee and Bowl competitor in South Florida around 2014 and 2015. My school had few people competing compared to the other schools but I still placed 3rd in the 2015 state Bee. I even remember the final questions being about Jim Thorpe and Jacques Chirac.
What I remember most though are the connections I made through History Bowl. I ran into the winner of that tournament during college when we were both at an unrelated conference (we were at different universities). We became friends and I even hosted his roommate in my dorm once.
My History Bowl team itself was also something of a cool coincidence. Growing up in South Florida, there was a lot of racial/ethnic/national diversity, so I never thought twice about it. But attending a college in the Northeast, I realized that not everyone had that experience and that diversity was, it felt like, the most important issue on campus. So in retrospect it was pretty cool that our History Bowl team, comprised of everyone who signed up for our school’s history club, had Black, Hispanic, South + East Asian, and Middle Eastern members who also represented Protestant + Catholic Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Sikhism. And there were only seven of us.
Among those seven was a first-gen American from a different socio-economic class than me who I had never met before. We have been in a serious relationship for a while now and it is quite likely we will marry in the next few years when we finish law school. I became the only one in my high school class to attend an Ivy League school and my girlfriend became the first in her family (despite being the youngest sibling) to attend a four-year university, and on a full scholarship too. She has told me she was partially spurred on by the friends and academic culture she found in History Bowl. It’s quite likely that I will have met my wife through History Bowl.
The reason I am sending this email now is due to a new coincidence. I tutor international high school students looking to attend university in the USA. I am tutoring my newest student in US History. He lives in Hong Kong. He said he wanted tutoring because he chose to be the US History expert on his International History Bee and Bowl team for competitions against students in Asia.
I remember your enthusiasm for this work when I first started playing back in 2015. I had really hoped that IAC would grow and succeed. I am now seeing that firsthand. But looking back, I’m realizing how much IAC and History Bowl have given me. I am remembering all the connections I have made through it. So, thank you.
Parker Abt was the founder of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas National History Bee and Bowl team in Parkland, FL. He is now a graduate student at the University of Chicago.
I just wanted to up-periscope for a moment to send best regards and thanks for your years of work in the History Bowl.
As I get older and look back over paths travelled (especially those involving my kids), it is hard to find a path that was as rewarding and life-affirming as my daughter’s was with your history competitions. And even rarer to witness the sense of craftsmanship and execution that you put into your work. It was a great privilege to ride the wave for the years that we did, and I am sure my daughter would say the same thing (though her one-point loss at the European Championships with Democracy in America on the tip of her tongue still gnaws at her to this day!)
My daughter is now finishing her final year at Balliol College Oxford, studying Economics and Management. Though she did not go the route of history study directly, all her experience in it has given her a great foundation for whatever she goes into.
Again, many thanks for all your efforts. Great work.