SHREWSBURY – Two national competitions in April will host a representative from Shrewsbury High School.
William Chen, 15, recently competed in statewide championships for both the History Bee and the History Bowl, which serve as qualifying for nationals.
The History Bee is a solo competition, while the History Bowl is a team-based activity, pitting Chen as an individual against three to four person team opponents. Both competitions challenge students to answer specific historical facts with speed and accuracy.
Chen placed first in the History Bowl while earning second place in the History Bee.
Attending both competitions initially instilled a sense of anxiety in Chen.
“I was kind of anxious,” he recently told the Community Advocate. “[Teams] didn’t necessarily intimidate me, but I knew they were stronger than me as an individual.”
The competitions primarily focus on American and European history, which is not Chen’s primary focus of study.
“To be honest, European and American academic history isn’t really my thing,” he said. “I’m more interested in Asian and Native American history.”
Each competition contained a mix of general and specific questions, ranging from dates of events to details regarding specific, lesser-known periods in history.
Chen noted the difficulty in preparing for both the competitions. Having now notched these state-level wins, though, Chen plans to represent Shrewsbury in both those History Bowl and History Bee national competitions in Virginia between April 21 and April 24.
“I’ll have to prepare a lot more for nationals,” said Chen.