Senior wins two silvers in History Olympiad

Casey Kim

After preparing for the tournament and traveling to Berlin, Emmanuel Zilber ’19 won two silver medals in the Varsity division of the 2018 International History Olympiad.

Zilber competed in Recent, Ancient, Pop Music, German Military and International Bee History categories in the Quiz Bowl event July 14-22. He also participated in the Potsdam Simulation, Berlin Exam and Knockout rounds and placed second in both of his individual events— Great Trading Game and Written Exam.

“Competing in the Olympiad was definitely nerve-wracking, but I didn’t particularly have high expectations for how I would do,” Zilber said. “I was very surprised I won two silver medals. I just spent the time at the tournament trying to have fun and meeting new people.”

Zilber was the sole participant from the school to compete in the Olympiad.

“[Competing] is mostly a personal thing,” Zilber said. “There is no set team here, so I have been doing this on my own. I had a club, but it did not invite too much interest, so I have just been doing it alone.”
The silver-medalist’s AP United States History teacher Nini Halkett shared her experiences with Zilber in the classroom.

“I am not at all surprised that he earned those honors because not only was he an excellent and hard-working student, but he was also passionate about learning everything he could about the world around him,” Halkett said. “[Zilber] definitely stood out in terms of the extensive outside knowledge that he brought to the course.”

Zilber said he enjoys speaking and discussing about history and politics and has been involved in competing in the Olympiad for six years.

“Particularly when we were discussing politics, I would often look to Emmanuel to help me with information that might answer a student’s question or further a discussion,” Halkett said.
Zilber said history has always been one of his favorite subjects.

“In fifth grade, I had a fun history teacher who made me really like history, so I started reading more books on various topics and playing games,” Zilber said. “One day, there was a competition, and I said, ‘Oh, this seems interesting. I’ll probably do terribly in it, but I might as well try.’ I have been doing it ever since.”