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WMS student headed to National History Bee

Woodbury Middle School seventh grader Peter Blanchfield will be competing in the National History Bee's 2013 National Champions on Friday in Atlanta, Ga. Blanchfield will be competing against 425 students for a $1,000 scholarship.

Woodbury Middle School seventh grader Peter Blanchfield is hoping to make history this weekend.

Blanchfield will be competing Friday at the National History Bee's 2013 National Champions in Atlanta, Ga.

The National History Bee is a Jeopardy-style competition. A total of 425 students from 47 states will be competing for a $1,000 scholarship.

"It'll be fun to see the other kids there who like history and talk to them about how they got started," Blanchfield said.

Blanchfield qualified for the national championship after winning the regional finals back in March in Minneapolis.

A history fan

Blanchfield said he has always loved history, specifically ancient Greek and Roman history.

"I like how Rome held onto its territory for so long," he said. "Even though it crumbled eventually, Rome still has a lasting influence today.

"And the Greeks really shaped the Western world."

Blanchfield said he likes how history is a look into the human experience.

"History is learning about the human experience throughout history," he said, "what humans did and how they became what they are now. Plus, it's about how people back in history kind of shaped our modern history."

Blanchfield said his teachers also contributed to his love of history.

"I've had a lot of great teachers who make history fun," he said. "They make history come to life."

Blanchfield said he hopes to actually talk with some of his teachers about starting some sort of history club or history competition at Woodbury Middle School.

Becoming a champion

Blanchfield said he had a lot of fun competing at the regional finals at Nova Classical Academy in Minneapolis.

The competition consisted of three preliminary rounds of head-to-head buzzer competition, followed by a final championship round.

"They covered everything from assassinations to who won the most NBA titles," Blanchfield said. "It turned out to be pretty lucky for me that I got questions that I knew. But I was nervous in between rounds."

Blanchfield has been preparing for nationals by reading through the official National History Bee study guide, quizzing himself and reading through some history books.

In total, Blanchfield said he has spent about 15 hours studying.

During the national competition, each student will compete in six preliminary rounds of questions. Students will signal that they have an answer with a buzzer.

The students with the top 40 scores at the conclusion of the preliminary rounds will advance to the championship rounds, which will narrow the group down to one eventual champion.

Blanchfield said he is both nervous and excited.

"I'm most nervous that it will be a lot harder than I think it is," he said. "It's kind of hard to know how hard it is going to be because you don't know how the nerves are going to take."

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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