Cherry Hill, NJ – The AHEPA Hellenic History Tournament was hosted at St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church this past Saturday for the first time. It attracted ten teams (AHEPA sponsored) from all over the Greater Philadelphia area and North Jersey. The annual tournament now in its eighth year is also hosted in Connecticut and Chicago. Now in three cities, it continues to grow and attract Greek-Americans and PhilHellenes to a trivia contest that helps them learn about Greek history.

“The premise of this event is how do we keep our youth plugged into Hellenism for as long as possible. We’ve already seen that many of our young children don’t speak Greek. The obvious answer for me was, make sure they know their Greek history”, explained creator Nicholas Nikas.

The contest is a trivia contest similar to jeopardy (tv show). Except here, we have teams of three. The multiple-choice questions are displayed on a projector screen and read by a moderator. The questions cover history that includes “Ancient,” “Middle,” and “Modern” Greek history and all the questions are drawn out of a book that is provided to the students when they register for the competition. Teams advance based on answering the most questions correctly, and the final two teams in the competition are awarded the $3,000 first-place and $500 second-place scholarship prizes. Family and friends are encouraged to attend the competition and watch their teams compete as the event is a family affair.

“The trivia contest concept introduces a historical timeline of Hellenism from 1500 BC to the present. No other history, (except China and Israel) has such a well-documented history. This gives young people a foundation for studying all histories connected to western civilization,” added Nikas.

AHEPA Headquarters has been on board from the beginning promoting the idea. On the local front, the event is being sponsored by local chapter 26 of Camden, who hosted the event and hope to make it an annual tradition as it grows nationally. “Mr. Nikas visited us three years ago at a district 5 workshop. He showed us this program he developed. Everyone loved the idea, but volunteers were difficult to get. But Nikas was persistent. He brought the game down with him from Connecticut one day and had Supreme Counselor George Horiatis and I play the game after church. And here we are today,” said Steve Marmarou, treasurer for District 5.

The Hellenic History Tournament has thus far been a great success, and AHEPA is looking into expanding the tournament into other regional sites. The ultimate goal is to create a National Championship tournament held at the annual AHEPA Supreme Convention where the top teams from each regional advance to compete for the national championship.