Did you know there was an Emu War in Australia with men on horses fighting 7-foot tall flightless birds? The Emu War is an example of the type of arcane factoid that makes history fascinating for Caroline Hintze.
“Some of the stuff that happened in history is weird,” the 14-year-old said. Caroline is one of two Pittston Area eighth graders who have qualified for the National History Bee in Chicago from June 7 to 10.
Kyle Breymeier, 13, is going, too.
“History is important and overlooked,” he said. “It’s not just a giant timeline.”
His favorite history topics are World Wars I and II, Vietnam and sports. His grandfather served in Vietnam. Kyle can talk about Jimmy Cefalo, Charley Trippi and the Pottsville Maroons, who claimed the NFL championship in 1925.
Caroline and Kyle placed first and second, respectively in the Pittston Area Middle School Bee and then qualified for nationals at the regional bee in Philadelphia.
Caroline is in the gifted program and takes a high school honors geometry class in the morning. She said she is trying to read a book a day from the library, while also reading history Sparknotes, a study guide, to sharpen up for the bee, practicing on her family heirloom 49-year-old saxophone and keeping up her straight As streak.
Kyle is busy, too. He hits the weight room at the Cefalo Center, getting in shape for baseball and football. He’s a baseball catcher and a tightend/linebacker for the freshman football team. Linebacking for PA football is a family tradition. In the 1990s, his uncle Bob was a fullback/linebacker and father, Alan, was an offensive lineman/linebacker. His mother is Chasity. They live in Jenkins Twp.
Caroline’s favorite history topics are American history and ancient civilization. She’s always been good at history, but English and science are her favorite subjects. Asked about her future she said she’d like to be “a marine biologist or archeologist or Wyatt Earp.”
She laughed and explained the Old West lawman was her late grandfather’s favorite historical figure. Caroline’s grandfather, Bill Hintze, with whom she lived while her mother worked as a lawyer in New Jersey, was a veteran of the U.S. Army and a member of the Red Devils Athletic Club, who loved history and politics. He died in May 2017. Seven days later, her mother, Kimberly Ann Hintze, died. Caroline lives with her aunt and uncle, Alicia and Scott Hintze.
Asked to name three dinner guests from history, she chose Teddy Roosevelt, Susan B. Anthony, and Stanley “Bucky” Harris, the Hall of Fame baseball player from Hughestown who, like Caroline, was a member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church. Caroline sometimes visits Harris’ grave in the church cemetery.
To the same question, Breymeier answered, “Ronald Regan. He’s an American legend and he won the Cold War without a war. Lou Gehrig and Yogi Berra.”
Kyle said the trip to Chicago is all gravy.
“Not nervous at all. It’s a no pressure situation,” he remarked.
While he’s there he is going to visit a piece of history by going to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, MLB’s second oldest park, Wrigley opened in 1914.
Caroline on the other hand is feeling a little nervous.
“It’s my second time going, so I want to do better.” She finished in the middle of the pack of 500 students last year.
Middle school principal Pat Bilbow said the bee is a big deal.
“As a school we’re super proud having two of our kids go to Chicago to compete in a national competition with students from across the country. They are representing their families, hometowns and school and we’re super proud of their efforts.”
Oh, and what about that EMU War?
“The Emus won,” Caroline said.