Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

(Vancouver – 18 September, 2015) With the dawn of the new school year, NHBB’s outreach team kicks into high gear! This year, our new Regional Coordinators will be handling much of the outreach for their respective regions. Meanwhile, this post is being written in Vancouver in the midst of a 3 week outreach trip to Canada where the International History Bee and Bowl’s Canadian Division is gearing up for its second year. We’ll also be doing specific outreach trips to Kentucky, Florida, California, Texas, New York, and New Jersey in the coming weeks.

Your NHBB Executive Director and his wife typically spend 80-90% of their time traveling throughout the USA and the world to bring NHBB and IHBB to ever more schools and students. Weekends (when we’re not directing) are often used to get from one region to another, along with time to set up appointments and school visits. In any given year, we’ll visit hundreds of schools – this year, outside the continental USA, we’ll be doing our first outreach trips to the Philippines, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Poland, and a few other places. Bringing more students into our tournaments outside the USA helps make the International History Olympiad possible without the USA having an overwhelming presence compared to students from other countries (US students compete for their states rather than for the USA at the Olympiad).

While most school visits usually consist of a conversation with one or more social studies teachers or academic team coaches, at some visits, we’ll bring a buzzer system and students will get a chance to try out playing some questions. Still, nothing could quite prepare us for a recent visit, where at a school for 6-13 year olds in Canada, the students who were gathered for our visit were almost entirely aged 6-8 years old! This led your Executive Director to cast aside the usual sample questions and ad lib a series of pyramidal questions (3 lines each) off the top of his head at a level that would be accessible to the students. The buzzes then came fast and furious for answerlines such as “Hawaii” “Pizza” “Toronto” “France” “Greece” “Lions” and other questions that could be answered by young children who knew a few historical tidbits about each topic. Could we one day have a division for even younger students than our current elementary division that goes up through 6th grade? We’re routinely impressed by students’ knowledge and look forward to expanding access to our competitions for many years to come, so we’ll see!

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