Middle schooler reaches Nationals in History Bee

Every year, thousands of high school, middle school and elementary school students compete in the National History Bee, designed to encourage and inspire knowledge among young pupils on a broad range of historical topics. When eighth-grader Amaris L. was first informed about the History Bee, she viewed it not as a competition among her peers, but as among one of her family members.

“I kind of just wanted to do it because my cousin did it when they were in eighth grade,” Amaris said. “I wanted to just beat them and get to the same level as them.”

Christina L’Heureux, Amaris’ mother, recalls how she first heard of the History Bee.

“She got interested in the History Bee because her cousin who lives in California won his History Bee competition last year and went to Nationals as an eighth-grader also,” Christina said. “It’s pretty exciting that we have two family members that will both have competed in the National History Bee.”

Amaris’ interest in history also seems to have been sparked by her frequent traveling to countries such as Greece, Italy, France and Spain.

“She enjoys traveling and as a family, we travel every summer,” Christina L’Heureux said. “When one travels you become interested in other cultures and the history of each country.”

In the first stage of the History Bee, participating students take an Online Regional Qualifying Exam. The students with the top scores then advance to the second stage, where they compete in the buzzer competition. Amaris was supplied with a study guide and a list of websites to help prepare for the contest, then set off to become a National Finals Qualifier, meaning she was moving up to the national competition.

“They asked a question and if you knew the answer you buzz in,” Amaris said. “It was three different sections, and everybody got to do all three. At the end they just tally up the scores of who got the most right.”

The top regional finalists advance to the third stage: National Finals. This year’s National Finals will be taking place May 22-25 in Louisville, Kentucky.

“There [are] a lot of people there who have been studying for a whole year,” Amaris said. “I don’t think I’m going to win it, but I’m gonna go do it for fun.”

Despite her doubts, Amaris’ family stays helpful and reassuring.

“We are all so excited and happy that she will be going to represent West Shore,” Christina said. “She is very creative and artistic. We all support her in any way that we can to encourage her to try new things and use her talents to help others.”