Moorestown Friends School freshman and Mt. Laurel resident is making history

Kayla Patel is headed to Washington D.C. this April.

Photo courtesy of Moorestown Friends School.

Freshman Kayla Patel loves reading about history, but now the Moorestown Friends School freshman is trying to make some of her own. The Mt. Laurel resident is headed to the National History Bee and Bowl Championships in Washington, D.C., for a battle of wits against other history loving students from across the country.

Patel attended the 2018 Southern New Jersey History Bee and Bowl at Donovan Catholic High School in Toms River on Feb. 17, where she emerged victorious. Students can compete in either the “Bee” or the “Bowl,” Patel said. In the Bee, students square off individually whereas in the Bowl, teams consist of between one and four players. Competing as a one-person team, Patel placed third in the Bowl and second in the Bee.

History has been one of Patel’s passions for as far back as she can remember. She said she finds ancient Greece and Rome especially fascinating, but she has also taken a particular interest in Indian history given her family’s heritage.

“I think it’s the fact that this stuff has been around longer than we’ve been around,” Patel said excitedly.

A lover of Quizzo, Patel was seeking out new trivia events when she stumbled upon the History Bee and decided to compete. She said while many of those involved in the competition went into it looking to win, she approached the competition just looking to have some fun.

An avid reader, Patel said her preparation for the competition was just consuming her usual diet of history books. She said that combined with knowledge she’s accumulated over the years in her history courses served her well.

The competition is buzzer based, with participants ringing in with the answer to paragraph-long questions covering a broad range of history. She said she most certainly did not expect to do as well as she did.

“I honestly am thrilled to be going to nationals,” Patel said. “It’s a great opportunity.”

Despite competing on the national stage, Patel said she’s approaching the competition, which goes from April 28 to April 29, the same way she would any other, with her usual reading and having her mother ask her a few practice questions. She said she sees it as the same competition — just on a bigger scale.

While she’s passionate about history, Patel said her interests are varied, with science and math also capturing her attention. She said she’s not sure what direction her future is headed yet, but she knows she’s always looking to learn something new.

“I’m always wanting to find more information,” Patel said.

She said thus far, the competition has taught her a lot about herself.

“I’ve learned how to listen and take away facts from listening; how to compete; how to sort of deal with it if you lose or if you win,” Patel said.