History Bowl Students Buzz In To Win

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Fifteen students will travel to Athens on Nov. 11 to test their knowledge against the state’s brightest social studies students.

“Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it,” said George Santayana. The History Bowl squad strives to carry on his legacy of remembering and honoring history.

While all students across the United States take classes on U.S. and World History, this group of distinguished students desire to continue their education outside of the classroom environment. Outfitted with black and red buzzers and facing the scowls of opposing players, the Wesleyan participants will settle into their seats. The moderator will begin with vague clues of the answer.

This former U.S. president was a graduate of Johns Hopkins in 1889; he is the only president with a PhD.

Perhaps senior Daniel Baisier buzzes in with the correct answer (Woodrow Wilson). If the answer still alludes both teams, the moderator will continue with more specific clues.

He signed the 16th and 17th amendment.

A Westminster senior confidently buzzes in and says, “Theodore Roosevelt.”

“Incorrect,” says the moderator. They continue again with the final clue:

Who was our 28th president?

At this point, a race to buzz in first ensues, as most of the students in the room now realize “Wilson” is the answer. Whoever buzzes in first will earn the designated ten points for their team.

However, the team does not show up without any preparation. The team practices once every other week in head of history department Ted Russell’s classroom. Since many of the students also participate in Model Arab League and Quiz Bowl, it is often difficult to get specific practice; however, the social studies classes at Wesleyan give students a strong foundation to perform well in competition.

Russell said, “It is fun for kids to be in an environment with others who have a love of history.” It also provides an opportunity for kids with academic interests to spend time with others who have similar interests outside Wesleyan. Russell said, “There’s not a lunch table that talks about history.”

This year’s bowl also provides an avenue for a rising-star to emerge on the varsity team. Junior Matthew Plunk was limited to playing on the junior varsity team last year as a sophomore because of bowl rules. However, he played a central role in helping the JV team qualify for nationals last year. As a junior eligible for varsity, he has high expectations for the upcoming season.

Plunk said, “I am most excited about answering questions. I love the adrenaline rush that accompanies pushing that buzzer.” As for how he desires the competition to go, he “expect[s] two things: to win, and to have fun along the way.”

Last season, the varsity B and junior varsity squads qualified for nationals in the team’s first year in existence. This season, all three teams aim to make the cut for the national competition in Washington D.C.

Excitement is immense, but knowledge of history is even bigger for the History Bowl team. Senior Henry Beltrami said, “We expect nothing less than an undefeated season and qualification for nationals.”




Can you answer these History Bowl questions? (Answers at the bottom)

  1. Jacob Coxey led an “Army” that protested unemployment by walking to this city. Name this city where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
  2. Name this Socialist who ruled from 2002 to 2013 as President of Venezuela.
  3. James Wilkinson informed Thomas Jefferson of a potential conspiracy created by this politician to form a nation in Southwestern United States under land leased by Spain. Thomas Jefferson’s first Vice President was what man who gained infamy at Weehawken, New Jersey in a duel?
  4. Name this country, the birthplace of Pope Francis, whose soccer team, led by Lionel Messi, placed second in the 2014 World Cup.



  1. Washington D.C.
  2. Hugo Chavez
  3. Aaron Burr
  4. Argentina
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