Schools take on QUIZ BOWL
On a recent Wednesday after school let out, a group of eleven students gathered in Sherry Grello's room at Lee Early College to take questions aimed at honing their knowledge on topics ranging from literature (name the author who wrote Siddhartha, for example) to architecture (what is the curved structure atop many buildings called?) and economics (which British economist believed that deficit spending could boost an economy?).
With a buzzer system on the table and the group split into teams of two they began practice for Quiz Bowl, an annual competition between teams at each of Lee County's high schools. It is sponsored by the Lee County Library.
“We meet every Wednesday,” explained Grello, the club's advisor. “I'm here to supervise, but the students run it. They decide which students will go up and compete.”
In late January, the team from LEC joined teams from Lee County High School and Southern Lee High School for the county-wide Quiz Bowl competition. While Lee County's Yellow Jackets appear to be building something of a dynasty after coming away from that event the victors for the second consecutive year, all three of the teams enjoyed the competition and look forward to more.
To win the competition, Lee County defeated Grace Christian, then Southern Lee, then Lee Early College, and then Southern Lee a second time in the final round.
Lee County sophomore Joshua Randolph delivered the win for his team by identifying the Moravians as the religious sect which settled Salem in North Carolina. That he even knew the answer came as a surprise to him.
“I still don't know how I knew that,” he said with a laugh. “I never recall knowing anything about Moravians.”
Lee County Yellow Jacket Senior Mitzi Salmeron, one of just a few alumni of both the last two years' winning teams, said she decided to join Quiz Bowl after being challenged by upperclassmen when she was a sophomore.
“I really needed a fresh start that year,” she said. “I was talking to some upperclassmen who were on the team already and they said they needed some fresh blood.”
For Joey Decerbo, also a member of both winning teams, the appeal of being involved with Quiz Bowl comes from the reactions he gets from fellow students.
“I really like when someone asks a question and I give the answer, and they're like 'how do you know this? How many books have you read?” he explained.
Yellow Jacket Senior Matthew Dalrymple said he's naturally pretty competitive.
“You always want to win – and keep winning,” he said.
“Especially since it had been 10 years or something since the last time we won,” Randolph chimed in.
For the team from Southern Lee, which finished second at the Library's competition, technology plays a role, not just in preparation, but in the club itself.
The 12-member Cavalier team competes regularly in online competitions, recently finishing second in one national event. They also use a web tool called Kahoot, which allows students to use their phones to log in to a platform where they can compete against each other to practice and get ready for events.
“You use the software to create quizzes and whatever topic- math, current events, history- and the students log in with their phones to answer the questions,” said coach Robin Showalter.
“It helps to know what's going on in the news,” said Cavalier senior Jose Morales.
Back at Lee County High School, the team not only reveled in its second victory, but also looked forward to the chance to make it a three-peat. The reigning champs said there were a number of ways they'll be working to get ready – but chief among them was pretty simple.
“It sounds obvious, but one of the easiest ways to prepare yourself for Quiz Bowl is to make sure you're doing good in your classes,” Dalrymple explained. “That helps a lot.”