On July 22, 2018, sophomore Izagani Aquino secured a bronze medal victory in the Popular Music History category of Germany’s International History Olympiad. Representing Team California, Aquino competed against more than 250 students from across the world in the Olympiad, which was held in Berlin and took place over the course of nine days.
“It was insane,” Aquino said. “You’re at an international championship; I made it to
sudden death, it was bronze, pretty much the only thing that was left on the table, and I didn’t want to go all the way to Germany without bringing something back.”
Aquino secured third place after defeating a student from Canada in a sudden death round in a question written about the song “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy.
“I was extremely happy, especially because it was a sudden death round, which can be pretty nerve-wracking at an international competition,” Aquino said. “I knew the person I was going against, from Canada, was pretty good. I had been rooming with him that whole week, so I beat my roommate and you can imagine how that played out in the room.”
For Aquino, the driving reason behind attending local and international tournaments is the opportunity to express himself and revel in fierce competition, something reflected in the fact that he is also a member of the school’s Speech and Debate team. To prepare for the tournament, he spent time going over potential topics with his father, who Aquino lauds as a history buff, and studied with friends and teammates.
“I always tell people that I’ve been interested in history and I was able to find a place to show off what I knew, where I could be fiercely competitive,” Aquino said. “I’ve met a lot of really cool people, and you’re surrounded by people with a lot of the same interests, which creates a good atmosphere.”
Aquino also pursues a number of interests outside of the History Olympiad and Speech and Debate, and is a part of San Marin’s Mock Trial team, the Boys Volleyball team, the STEM program, Rock Band and Robotics team.
“I’m the number one overall savage at San Marin right now,” Aquino said. “High school is what you make of it. If you’re not getting involved, you’re not going to have fun. I feel like, for me, the best way to enjoy high school is to get involved in a lot of things without overstretching myself.”