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Scholastic Bowl Successful Throughout Season and at State Competition

“Nobody in the state had ever heard of Carl Sandburg and Scholastic Bowl,” says Mr. Brigham, who has been a coach of Scholastic Bowl for the past ten years. Now, however, the team boasts 11 regional titles and 7 sectional titles.

On March 2, Scholastic Bowl competed at Masonic State, placing 3rd place overall, “which is the highest state finish any team’s ever had,” says Mr. Brigham. Brigham shared that their wins at Masonic were the highlight of this year’s season. “It’s been a great year.”

Photo courtesy of Jocelyn Chan

These competitions follow a similar format to the television game show Jeopardy, in which teams compete 5 on 5, facing each other, ready to answer. Staying true to Jeopardy, the students use buzzers to answer the questions, “which is one of the things that’s really fun about it,” Mr. Brigham adds.

“Going to competitions is a super fun experience,” says Yazhi Paguntalan, a member of the club.

Just like any other sport or activity, the students have to practice hard to prepare for these faceoffs, which involve some friendly competition with each other. “A lot of times in practice, [we’ll] have them quiz each other head to head, and we give them sets of info to learn,” Mr. Brigham says. “We’ve actually instituted something that the kids love – we call them ranks. So, they basically have ranks that they can get, and the more and more they learn, they move up, kind of almost like the army. We play games  –we play the locker game, we have something called the centipede game – just different ways to get the kids to compete.”

Freshman team member Paguntalan shares that “I looked forward to it everyday. There’s a lot of unique ways to practice [in] Scholastic Bowl. Like instead of sitting down, you can go out in the hallways and win stuff.”

She identifies challenges, stating that “Learning new stuff all throughout the season has been kind of challenging, especially when there’s so many upperclassmen that know more than you. But also, it’s been such a blast to learn it. And it’s not like they’re mean to you or anything. They actually help you and guide you along the way.”

This teamwork and collaboration evident in Scholastic Bowl meetings all help the students gain more knowledge for their competitions. “[Scholastic Bowl] is a team sport of general knowledge. You have kids that are good at history, math, science, literature, general knowledge, pop culture, which is one of their favorite things to do,” Mr. Brigham mentions. He also says that “Sometimes, you have people that are good at multiple categories. Other times, a really good team will have specialists in different areas.”

Specializing in literature, Paguntalan adds: “As a freshman, it’s felt really nice, actually, because a bunch of the upperclassmen are super sweet and really welcoming, and they’ll really help you when you’re learning new stuff. [They] help you learn more stuff and they tutor you. Everyone there is super sweet and welcoming, especially to incoming freshmen that don’t know as much.”

In addition to these team practices, going to competitions such as Masonic State create tight-knit connections. Paguntalan says competitions are much more fun because she is “spending hours with the same people, and it’s pretty fun to get to know [the] other people.”

“It’s more fun than people think it is,” Mr. Brigham comments. “We have amazing kids, they all really like each other. Even though it sounds almost like a class because you’re learning, it’s just learning in a different way than you do day-to-day in a classroom.”

Photo courtesy of Jocelyn Chan

“[Scholastic Bowl] is just a good opportunity to learn more. It helps you in general with your studies and school,” Paguntalan shares. “[Some] of my proudest moments [have been] just the little moments – making my teacher proud whenever I answer a question that no one else knows, like just the little things like that. You don’t need to get an award to have fun. As long as you know that you’re learning more and you’re starting to answer more, it’s such a fun experience.”

Scholastic Bowl truly gives students the opportunity to grow their connections with other students as well as celebrate personal growth and achievement. Seeing the progress of students just starting in Scholastic Bowl to winning state tournaments and awards is really “the best thing about it,” concludes Mr. Brigham.

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