DANVILLE — Five North Ridge Middle School MATS (Motivating Academically Talented Students) are ranked 10th in the nation as a middle school team for their vast knowledge of history.
The North Ridge students — eighth-graders Peyton Blodgett, Taylor Heald and Christina Jackson, and seventh-grade twin brothers Sourin and Suvan Paturi — as well as two East Park Elementary School students — Jolene Blodgett and Caleb Campbell — participated last weekend in the National History Bee Championship in Atlanta.
The National History Bee is an individual academic competition for elementary and middle school students that tests the knowledge of a wide range of historical topics.
All seven Danville students had done well in March at a regional competition in Indianapolis, qualifying them to advance to the national championship on June 6-8.
That in itself was a big accomplishment since North Ridge was one of the only schools in the nation to advance to the nationals with all five of its students placing in the top 10 in the middle school division at the regional competition.
The Paturi brothers came in second place overall in the middle school division at the regional finals.
In Atlanta, the North Ridge and East Park students joined the top 10 students from each of the regional finals across the U.S., which totaled more than 700 youngsters.
“They did really, really well. They all got on the board with points,” said North Ridge math teacher Lori Woods, who started the extracurricular program in the 2012-2013 school year after her students expressed an interest in trying it.
“For our second year of doing this, we really did well,” she said. “If you keep up with it, you’ll do better every year.”
By comparison, more than 400 sixth- through ninth-graders from across the country competed in last year’s history bee, with the North Ridge students finishing in the top 50 percent.