(Image Courtesy of Innovative Show Design)
Members of Community Middle School's National History Bee team include, back row: Esmeralda Nava, Samantha Mitchem, Preston Bennett and Tyler Roberts. Front row, Xavier Von Dran, Tyler Denny, Lucas Williams, Jayden Moody and James Baker. It's no surprise that a history teacher's favorite summertime television network might be the History Channel.
Last June, Ethan Myrick watched the inaugural National History Bee, which included students from middle schools nationwide. At the end of the program, viewers were encouraged to sign up for this year's competition.
"I knew that we had students at our school that were capable of competing at this level," said Myrick. Community Middle School is one of a handful of Tennessee schools competing.
"Several students were interested in participating," Myrick said. After a qualifying exam, the team was narrowed to 10 participants, who practice once a week by answering questions with a buzz-in device recommended by the National History Bee.
The History Bee began as a joint effort between A&E Network's History, and an existing academic company led by executive director David Madden. Madden is famous for his 19-day winning streak on "Jeopardy!" in 2005.
Four school champions will be named prior to Community's winter break. They will take part in the competition's online regional qualifying exam in January. The top 120 scorers from each region will advance to the regional finals to compete in the buzzer competition.
"We are very excited to have this team working and preparing so hard for the competition," said Joy Caskey, assistant principal. "The students seem to enjoy the afternoons they spend practicing, and I feel that says a lot about the integrity of the program Mr. Myrick has designed to get them ready for the event."
The winner of each region will advance to the National Championship to compete for title of National History Bee champion on June 1, 2013 in Washington, D. C.
Last year's winner, Tajin Rogers of McLean, Virginia took the inaugural Champion title as well as a $50,000 scholarship prize provided by textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
The competition recently announced an extension of the registration deadline until the end of January 2013.
Elementary and homeschool students are welcome to participate, providing they have not yet completed the eighth grade or reached the age of 15. Both school and individual registrations are available. A similar competition open to high school students began in 2010 and may be accessed via the web site historybee.com.