Liberty Middle School proudly wore their “Black History Matters” T-shirts to emphasize the importance of the Black History Brain Bowl event.

By Hayley Fedor

Leading up to the month of March, many middle and high school students throughout Hillsborough County devoted time to studying and learning about black history in order to represent their schools in the fifth annual Black History Brain Bowl.

The Black History Brain Bowl is an event hosted by the Hillsborough Alliance of Black School Educators, or HABSE, that allows students to compete against each other and demonstrate their knowledge of black history.

“The purpose of the Brain Bowl is to teach students about black history and the history of black people, including African history,” said Keensha Parham, president of HABSE, “letting people know the great things that black people have contributed to the world.”

As a result of the pandemic, the Black History Brain Bowl looked a bit different this year. On March 6, students from each of the 38 schools that participated logged on to Zoom and faced off before a panel of judges that asked trivia questions and evaluated answers. While the students competed virtually from their respective schools, the volunteers that helped with the event reported to Middleton High School.

In preparation for the Brain Bowl, students received an extensive list of topics to study, not knowing which questions would be asked on the day. In turn, a number of schools that participated displayed proficient knowledge about the topics by not missing a single question asked during the event.

“It was something positive for the students to be a part of and to socialize again, to get together and do something and feel good about what they were doing,” said Parham.

Beyond giving students the opportunity to compete, the Black History Brain Bowl facilitated encouragement and positivity for the community by highlighting the significance of black history and bringing members of the community together.

“We had schools participating from all over the county as well as community members from different organizations all over the county coming together in order to make this event happen,” said Parham.

Despite the challenges created by the pandemic, 190 students took part in the Brain Bowl and 170 volunteers gave their time and services to help the event run smoothly.

Representing the area and making their school proud, the competitors from Lennard High School took home the title of co-champion this year in the high school division of the fifth annual HABSE Black History Brain Bowl.

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