It’s quiz bowl season! Over the past few months, Science Club, Rho Kappa History Honor Society, and Mu Alpha Theta (Math Honor Society) planned their respective society’s quiz bowl tournaments. Though Math Bowl was cancelled after being scheduled for Wednesday, May 2, the students who were able to participate in the latter two learned to embrace their knowledge and extend their learning beyond the classroom.
Science Club officers Logan Cunningham and Mary Kate Lantzy announce the beginning of Science Bowl. Eight teams competed in multiple choice and free-response rounds, with Ion the Prize coming out on top. Photo Credit: Cassie Coughlan
On February 22 at 7:00 pm, the first of several competitions—Science Bowl—was hosted by the Science Club. Excited students formed teams of four or five, stepped up to the plate and answered multiple-choice and free response questions. The competition utilized a bracket format that pitted teams against one another until a winner was determined by the completion of a free-response packet. As expected, Team Ion the Prize took home first prize, as they’ve done time after time.
Patrick Wright, a senior member of the winning team, said that science is the future. “It can be really beneficial to society, especially with environmental science, which is my favorite because it’s very important to study it so we can protect our environment for generations to come.”
Junior Kelly Brown added, “You can explain almost everything through science.”
Many of the participating students are members of extracurricular organizations involving their interests, and several want to explore their passion for science in college and their future careers.
The winning team, Ion the Prize, works on a free response question. Patrick Wright, a member of Ion the Prize, said that science “is the future.” Photo Credit: Cassie Coughlan
Brown continued, “I want to be a biomedical engineer… I wanted to make prosthetics for the army because my family has been in the military, and I’ve seen people without limbs.”
Wright reflected, “I do Envirothon, which is an environmental competition. We went to states last year and we hope to go to States again this year. [During the competition,] you take a bunch of different environmental science tests—forestry, aquatics, wildlife, and you have to give an oral presentation on a project that you create. I am really interested in environmental science, so I’m studying that in college, hopefully get my Masters in that, and hopefully teach it.”
Fellow senior Mary Kate Lantzy, an officer in Science Club, helped plan the event by writing the script, creating questions, and recruiting team members. She added, “I am interested in science because it has always been my favorite subject, and I’m interested in doing medicine… I interned with a neurosurgeon over the summer, and he really inspired me.”
On April 25 at 7:00 pm, Rho Kappa History Honor Society hosted History Bowl. Using two different question formats, five teams—mostly consisting of juniors and seniors—answered questions on everything from The Scientific Revolution to World War II. It was a celebration of knowledge that ended with the dominance of a team of veteran quiz bowl members—Mason Fristoe, Jeff Cheng, and Michael Traylor.
Participants (from left) Jeff Cheng, Roman Fenner, Chae Han, Abby Ringberg, and Peyton Showalter ponder the answer to a question asked by Mrs. Rutkowski, the sponsoring teacher. The competition consisted of two rounds, with representatives from each team participating in round 1. Photo Credit: Cassie Coughlan
“I realized that history was not just this fact-memorizing force, no. [Studying history is necessary] for you to truly appreciate what we’ve came from—our society, and how it was shaped and formed,” Jeff Cheng reflected in the wake of his team’s victory.
“I love learning about modern history of third world countries that Americans really don’t know about. I like to read up on Cambodia, Pakistan, Bangladesh—all those countries [about which] people don’t care,” Jeff pondered, regarding which aspect of history he enjoys most.
Christian Wachter, a member of the runner-up team, said he enjoys another facet of history—government. “I really enjoyed this year in [Government] because it is more about the institutions and the US government and it isn’t just one set time period… Just thinking about who’s actually running the country and why are they doing what they’re trying to do. It really gets behind that motivator for why the people who can really craft history are doing the things that they’re doing.”
On his decision to join a team with fellow seniors Tri Nguyen, James Vithoulkas, and Roman Fenner, Christian said, “Roman asked me, and I was like, ‘I like answering questions…’ And I like history, and I was hoping that there would be a little bit of government and politics.” The creation of their team name was “really spearheaded by Roman, but I think it was because both him and I were in Les [Misérables] (the school musical). Our team name was Versailles on the Prize—which obviously is a reference to France. We loved Les Mis and we were both singing some of the songs, and it was fun.”
After they signed up and created team names, the teams of students participated in two types of rounds. The first involved one member from each team coming forward to a central table. Mrs. Rutkowski—one of the sponsoring teachers of Rho Kappa—began by reading very difficult, specific statements aloud. Eventually, the statements became easier to decipher, and once a participant could pinpoint a historical figure she was describing, he buzzed in with the answer, earning his team points.
Team Versailles on the Prize, consisting of seniors James Vithoulkas, Tri Nguyen, Roman Fenner, and Christian Wachter, earned second place at the History Bowl. Christian said he enjoys “hearing those stories, those compelling stories” throughout history. Photo Credit: Cassie Coughlan
For the second round, each team chose a category out of a list on the screen, with the team in last place choosing first. One at a time, each team would answer a series of questions about the category they chose, working together to determine the answer. The number of questions they answered correctly translated to the number of points they earned.
Ashley Meyer, an officer in Rho Kappa Honor Society, talked about the planning around History Bowl, saying, “We used the questions from Mr. Boggs, who runs the quiz bowl stuff for the school. Mr. Boggs and Ms. Rutkowski worked together to separate out history ones… We used a quiz bowl format by using two different types of rounds.”
She elaborated on the importance of History Bowl, saying, “We wanted to have History Bowl so kids who like showcasing their knowledge and competing have a chance to—because some [students] focus more on academics than athletic, competitive sports, so this is their chance to showcase their knowledge in a more fun way.”
Christian added, “History is the most vast collection of stories and people and foreign actors and resolutions and exciting incidents that you would possibly hope to find, and there are all of these amazing little bits and pieces and people that are just so interesting that you would never hear about. You live in a different time, but there are certain things that are compelling regardless of when you lived, and so I really enjoy that.”
Jeff thoughtfully pondered, “We may think of it as—this won’t give me a job—but it really shows you how you wouldn’t be in this position if it weren’t for history. If you don’t really appreciate history—Santayana once said—you’re doomed to repeat it.”