The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

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The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

Guide Post

The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

Guide Post

North High’s Varsity History Bowl Team Sweeps Debut Regionals

From the new History Club founded in the 2023-24 school year, North High’s varsity IAC History Bowl team crushed the competition at the New England Regionals at Ridgewood High School. Read on to find out how they banded together to advance to Nationals, and hear from those involved in this historic win!

What clubs do you think of when someone mentions North High in competition? Perhaps DECA, Model Congress, or Model United Nations winning at schools across the city? Or even the North High Math Team or Science Olympiad club battling it out against schools across Long Island? 

Well, a new, unconventional contest has joined the fray, and it may not strike you as competitive at first glance. North High’s History Club, which collected funds and held its first meetings for members mere months ago, has defied expectations by taking first place in the International Academic Competition National History Bowl Regionals held at Ridgewood High School in New Jersey.

National History Bowl is one of the most contended humanities competitions for high schoolers in this modern day, and it has just recently found its way to history enthusiasts at North High. Covering questions from American history to ancient history to even military history or trivia, National History Bowl has attracted a wide selection of students to participate on North’s team. Although the varsity and junior varsity teams only consisted of 9 students total, they came into the competition ready to tear down their competitors. 

The North High varsity and junior varsity History Bowl teams pose for a team photo in front of Ridgewood High School (Credit: @gnnhistoryclub on Instagram).

Advised by experienced and adored AP United States History teacher John-Paul Mannebach, the teams prepared vigorously for their time to shine that fateful Saturday, and the varsity team pulled through with only having lost one game by 30 points, winning the rest in landslide victories. 

“Being advisor of the new History club has been delightful,” said Mr. Mannebach. “We have a core group of young historians whose passion for history and hunger for knowledge is exciting and joyful to witness.”

Competing in such a setting is new to all members of the club, and the members did not know what to expect. “To be honest, I am a wee bit surprised by the regionals History Bowl victory this past month,” said Mr. Mannebach. “I expected the team to do well, but certainly did not or could not have expected a first place finish, especially this being our team and school’s first opportunity to qualify.”

The winning varsity team consisted of four juniors: Adam Smulovics, Tamas Smulovics, Logan Ye, and Joshua Ahdout. Having trained with competition sets for only months, the team was able to pull through against some of the most formidable foes in the History Bowl space, some of whom had competed at the national level. The junior varsity team had four juniors: James Zhou, Addison Chiu, Justin Chen, and Todd Eng, and even held sophomore Aiden Jin as a substitute to pull through in tight spots.

The varsity team preparing for their next match from left to right: junior Adam Smulovics, junior Tamas Smulovics, junior Logan Ye and junior Joshua Ahdout (Credit: @gnnhistoryclub on Instagram).

“I really liked the competitive nature of the whole event because of how engaging it was,” said junior competitor Joshua Ahdout. “It was nerve-wracking, but also exhilarating in a way to learn new things and challenge myself more than I ever have before.”

Many of the members have always been history fanatics, and this passion might have been what pushed them to be so successful at such an early stage of the club. “I have loved history since my childhood, and History Bowl was a great opportunity to both demonstrate my skills and also grow as someone who loves to learn,” said Ahdout. “Plus, I’ve discovered that I am really great at certain niche categories like religion or trivia.”

The members toil weekly to express their love for the humanities in a creative way, whether that be designing games to practice for competitions with teammates or even printing t-shirts to show their history appreciation around school. Watch out for History Club merchandise and fundraisers soon!

“I think that competitive history is a fun and exciting way to engage in history, have fun, and broaden history’s appeal,” said Mr. Mannebach. “History encompasses all subject matters so there are a lot of opportunities for people to shine in competition.  Humans are competitive animals, and people love to play games with and against each other.”

The team’s love for history is not the only thing that is highlighted in their work. “There is a reason why ‘Jeopardy’ has been popular and a part of American culture for more than the last 40 years,” said Mr. Mannebach. “Competitive history, specifically the History Bowl, gives students the opportunity to compete against others and also gives students the opportunity to work in a team. The cooperation and competition drive the History Club and make it a valuable experience for all involved.”

The event was held at Ridgewood High School, a stronghold for high school history scholars, and this year was no different, with the formidable Princeton High varsity team being narrowly beat out by North’s very own varsity team. The club has experienced a massive influx of students interested in competing following their notable win, and implore more members to join them on Fridays after school in room 236. Email captains Logan Ye, Tamas Smulovics, or Todd Eng with any questions.

The team goes to a celebratory dinner following their momentous win (Credit: @gnnhistoryclub on Instagram).

The varsity team is setting their sights high for the upcoming History Bowl National Championship in Washington D.C., and even hopes to compete at the International Championships in Hungary in Spring 2023. As for the club’s endeavors, they plan to hold exciting practices and meetings for all types of history connoisseurs, and hope to dip their toes into other history competitions as well. 

“We are hoping to grow the club over the coming weeks and months, hopefully inspiring new members to join and participate,” said Mr. Mannebach. “We are in the process of putting together some fun fundraising opportunities that can go towards fees and costs for future competitions, specifically History Bowl Nationals this Spring in Virginia.”

The club officers have taken the club to the next level, designing various graphics to be put on t-shirts, other apparel, and accessories. The club also hopes to compete in future competitions to prepare and qualify for national competitions. Aside from just competitions, the club plans to work on projects for National History Day. “National History Day is an opportunity for students to create their own, creative, and researched history papers and projects for the Long Island Regional Contest at Hofstra University in March,” said Mr. Mannebach. “Since History Club is so new, the sky’s the limit, and we hope to get more young and passionate historians to join us at future meetings and competitions.”

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About the Contributor
Johnathan Ahdout
Johnathan Ahdout, Managing Editor
Johnathan is one of Guide Post’s managing editors. He is the co-president of TV North and part of North High’s Science Olympiad team. He enjoys filmmaking, and spends his time SAT tutoring, or researching something he went on a tangent about during his schoolwork. He is passionate about working on any form of media, especially Guide Post.

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