Two Cape Coral students will take their knowledge and love of history on the road.
Eric and Tyler Feichthaler, students in the city of Cape Coral Charter School system, are headed to the Regional Finals of the National History Bee in Orlando.
Oasis Elementary School fifth grader Tyler Feichthaler and Oasis Middle School sixth grader Eric Feichthaler will be two of 240 students competing in the Orlando Regional Finals of the National History Bee. Both students scored high enough on the Online Regional Qualifying Exam to advance to the regional level held in Orlando on Tuesday, Feb. 7.
Qualifying for this event was an accomplishment for both students who were the only two from Lee County to make it to the regional competition. The brothers are just a year apart and, up until last year, both attended Oasis Elementary School until Eric graduated to Oasis Middle School. Both schools are part of the city of Cape Coral (municipal) charter school system.
"This is the first time they have taken the online test for the National History Bee. It's not a program currently offered at the school," said their mother, Mary Feichthaler, a certified public accountant. The test consisted of 50 questions, and both students scored among the highest in their region.
Tyler and his brother Eric are not new to friendly sibling rivalry and competition. Tyler just recently won the Geography Bee held at the school for the second year in a row. Eric came in first place in the Oasis Middle School Geography Bee. Now, they are both in the running to go to Jacksonville to compete at the national level. According the their mother, "they're best of friends even though they both have the drive to win."
The National History Bee differs from other competitions, such as spelling bees. During the regional competition, the top students from the ORQE will compete against each other in a buzzer competition similar to the television show Jeopardy. All questions are written and edited by history teachers, professors, and other social studies educators from around the United States. The content is split evenly between United States and non-United States history and adheres to fifth through eighth grade social studies curricula. The winners from the 38 regional finals advance to the National Finals and compete for the title of National History Bee Champion.
Preparing for a history bee is challenging and takes hands-on-knowledge as well as memorization.
"Some kids like memorizing more than others," Feichthaler said. "Not Tyler. He has always enjoyed reading at a high level. When he's not reading, he's watching the news and learning about the world."
Both parents said that allowing their children to explore the United States and other countries is important. "We want our kids to experience different cultures and learn about the world around them."
The Feichthalers travel a lot. In fact, they have visited 42 states and multiple foreign countries within the past two years.
"My husband really loves geography and studying the atlas. He takes the family on road trips all the time," Feichthaler said.
The boys' father is former Cape Coral mayor Eric Feichthaler, an attorney who still stays active in the community and recently petitioned for crosswalks between Oasis Elementary and Middle schools.
"We are very excited for them. They both are so academically motivated," he said.
This regional contest is part of the National History Bee program. One student will qualify for the national competition in Atlanta.
"Making it to the regional level is so amazing. I worked really hard," said young Eric. "What excites me the most is having a chance to go to the next level."
For more information about the National History Bee competitions, call (850)888-8223 or visit the website www.historybee.com