History takes Aquino across the country

Freshman Izagani Aquino (in plaid) has competed all over the country in history bees. [Courtesy of Izagani Aquino]

For freshman Izagani Aquino, history has always been a major interest. Growing up reading history books and having an uncle as a politician in the Philippines, Aquino has always found the past fascinating.

Since his first competition in seventh grade at Sinaloa Middle School, Aquino has been actively involved in history bees. After having one of the top ten scores at Sinaloa, he competed and qualified at the Northern California History Bee Regional Championships in San Jose. This sent him to the National History Bee in Chicago where he placed in the top half of his division. From there he competed in the International History Olympiad held at the University Of Hawaii last summer. While competing for Team California in Hawaii, Aquino took first place for Pop Music History.

“I was down in points and I worked my way back up which was really cool,” Aquino said.

Because competitions can be nerve wracking, Aquino not only focuses on the history aspect of the competitions but also controlling any nerves that could impact his answers.

“When you’re in that room with so many intelligent people it can get to you sometimes,” Aquino said. “It really is a mental game.”

Aquino tries to compete in as many history bees as possible. Even with categories such as military, citizenship, and sports and entertainment history up for competition, he has no clear favorite period in history.

“You can’t just say one part of history is your favorite because everything is connected,” Aquino said. “It’s hard to learn history without inherently getting connected to something else.”

As of now Aquino has no plans to pursue history as a career, but he does hope to compete in the International History Olympiad in Berlin next summer.

“For me history is about studying the past so we can prepare for the future,” Aquino said.