Blue Devils earn regional honors at Scholastic Bowl competition
© Culpeper Times
The Scholastic Bowl team at Culpeper County High School recently proved that its members are not only smarter than fifth graders but also smarter than all but two other teams in Region I.
Try a couple of the actual sample questions below to see how you might fare against these academic high achievers.
“This organelle is the site of pectin synthesis in plants. The GAAP protein is localized in this body, aiding the cell in apoptosis control …this organelle's primary function is packaging proteins and lipids for transport to other parts of the cell.”
(Answer: Golgi body)
“One character in this novel has cufflinks made out of human molars. The title character of this work attended St. Olaf's College…the narrator deals with Meyer Wolfsheim and dates a female golfer named Jordan Baker.”
(Answer: The Great Gatsby)
“John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay helped negotiate what treaty that came before the Battle of New Orleans and ended the War of 1812.”
(Answer: Treaty of Ghent)
“One of the challenges for me with a team as big as ours was deciding who to play,” said first year coach Benjamin Perez. “I wanted to give everyone some experience, but also try to make sure that we would win.”
The Scholastic Bowl has three rounds of questions with four panelists in each round.
“I could play 12 different kids in each match and if we were 100 points ahead after the first round I felt pretty comfortable switching kids out,” Perez said. “Otherwise, I left most of the starters in.”
Each team member has a number of specialties, but each player may answer any question.
“It was kind of cool to do so well at regionals,” said senior Alana Burket. “We won our first match, then lost to New Kent but came back to take third.”
Junior Brittany Carter said her favorite part of being on the team is that, “I get to experience some things with other individuals. This may not be considered a sport, but it should be, because it really challenges you.”
Sophomore Sarah Hughes, who specializes in Greek mythology, said King George was the toughest school for her to play against.
“Their coach was just so… intense,” she said.
Senior Timothy Hughes gave an example of answering a question in an area in which he was not an “expert.”
“I answered a French question and I don't speak French,” he said. “I took Latin. But I do a lot of individual research and I read a lot.”
Variety spices up student profiles
The students represent a wide variety of interests, with four of the 11 interviewed out for sports, six playing a musical instrument, one taking drama and four in art classes.
“I'm on the JROTC drill team and I'm starting up tennis,” said junior Drake Singh.
Sophomore Darby Libka said questions come from a wide variety of places.
“I had history questions, but also there were sometimes questions about journalism or art,” she said.
Perez said pop culture is also fair game.
“Last year there were questions on 'planking' and the song 'Call Me Maybe,” he said. “Many times the questions start out very obscure and then become very specific.”
As a math specialist, sophomore Margaret Yeck said her approach to the competition was “to mainly try and remember what has been asked before and to try and remember new stuff that I have learned.”
Sometimes a team member buzzes in when they think they know what a question will be and sometimes they are fooled.
“I was asked about the Gadsden Purchase and I thought I knew where the question was heading,” said junior Esteban Chavez. “But the question went completely in another direction.”
“When you mess up by answering too early it's frustrating,” said junior Pavel Josan. “Because by the end you know the answer and it's too late.”
Senior Trey Gentry is also captain of the CCHS History Bowl team so it's not surprising that history is his favorite subject.
“I think we can learn a lot by looking at past cultures and civilizations,” he said.
Junior August Walker answers mostly math and science questions.
“There was one math question I remember that was about a pyramid that none of us knew the answer to. It was an SAT-type question.”
The first and third rounds of each competition feature toss-up questions where any team member may answer but they can't confer with their team mates. In the second round the team members may confer and one of them answers for the entire team.
“One thing that defines a good team member is persistence,” said Perez. “A great majority of students would hear the first line of a question and think 'I don't know the answer, I'm done.' These students will hang in there, listen and then give an answer.”