Creekside Middle School eighth-grader Liam Mickle’s body frequently can be seen on a basketball court, track or football field, but his mind often is on the battlefield – Shiloh, Bull Run, Vicksburg.
Liam has more than a passing interest in U.S. history. In fact, he’ll be competing for the second consecutive year in the ACE National Junior High History Bee in Atlanta after qualifying March 25 at the Northern Illinois Regional Finals.
Liam was one of 20 contestants who advanced from a field of 120. The national event will be June 1 to 2. He also competed in the National History Bee & Bowl – High School Division and qualified for the National History Bee on April 29 in Washington, D.C.
Liam’s father, Jon, said Liam is a big Civil War buff who has participated in five Civil War re-enactments, all as a Union soldier.
His family moved to Woodstock in summer 2017 from Byron when his father took a position with Community School District 300. Liam’s interest in the history competition stuck with him despite the move from his old school. He said he enjoyed the challenge of the national competition.
“I didn’t know that many kids were as smart about history,” Liam said. “I like learning about stuff in the past so it doesn’t repeat.”
When he’s not dribbling or tackling, Liam said he enjoys reading about history, attending speaking events at the Woodstock Public Library and watching documentaries or movies with historical themes.
Liam finished in the top third of the competition last year, scoring most of his points from his Civil War expertise, but he said he expects to do even better this year. The competition has a game-show format where students buzz in to answer questions.
Liam said his favorite figure from U.S. history is Ulysses S. Grant. “He wasn’t exactly the perfect general, but he knew how to win,” he said.