Way to Go: Alec Fischthal, Woodmere
A Woodmere teenager took the trophy as first runner-up in this year's National History Bee in Atlanta, which included 440 students from 47 states.
Alec Fischthal, an eighth-grader at Woodmere Middle School, won second place this month in the bee, which ended a yearlong competition featuring thousands of middle school and elementary students.
To reach the national level, he first won at the school level, then took an online exam to reach the regionals in Yonkers. There, he placed third in the "Jeopardy!"-style competition.
"I'm amazed; I can't believe I got so far," said Alec, 13, adding he's had a love of history -- particularly the Civil War -- since he was 3.
The national bee tested students' knowledge of everything from ancient China's economy to political impacts of the fall of the Berlin Wall. As first runner-up, Alec was given a trophy and a Kindle Fire.
"We're thrilled for Alec," Woodmere principal Rick Berkowitz said. "Alec has said history is like a story. Well, I'm looking forward to one day reading about the Alec Fischthal story."
Outside of school, Alec has launched Literacy for Kids, which has issued thousands of books to underprivileged children abroad.