Upper Canada College Year 9 student John Papanikolaou was a member of the team that won the District 23 Hellenic History Tournament on April 28.
The tournament, held by the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association, is a Jeopardy-style competition for students in Grades 8 through 12. It covers topics from ancient, medieval and modern Greek history and attracted 16 teams.
“I heard about the Hellenic History Tournament through a few friends,” says Papanikolaou. “I entered it so that I could learn more about Greek history in a fun and competitive way.”
Papanikolaou teamed up with his cousin Victoria Poulos and friend Caroline Cansfield for the tournament, wherein all the questions came from the book Hellenika by Peter Limber.
A team comprised of UCC students Stefan Markarov, Ethan Ullmann and Nicolas Papoutsidis also took part in the competition and made it to the quarter-final round.
“We prepared independently for about a month and we prepared as a team for a few days before the tournament,” says Papanikolaou.
“After doing well in the initial two rounds, we headed into the playoffs as the fourth seed, one behind the talented UCC team. We met some extremely tough competition, particularly in the semi-finals and final. We won the tournament in overtime, answering just one more correct question than the other team.”
Papanikolaou and his two teammates each won $1,000 and qualified for the international tournament to be held in Atlantic City, N.J. in late July.
The tournament was supposed to be held at York University, but the faculty strike there meant that it had to be moved. UCC stepped in to host the event, which Papanikolaou says was “a great opportunity to both showcase our knowledge of Greek history and to meet like-minded history buffs.”