Pam Dudding-Burch | Contributing writer
Taking a challenge is one thing, but participating in the Virginia High School League Scholastic Bowl is something entirely different.
Five students from Craig County High School took the challenge and competed in the Annual Scholastic Bowl Pre-Tournament at Radford High School on Wednesday, January 18. “The Scholastic Bowl Teams come from many schools within our district,” Lindsey Parsons, a Craig High English teacher, explained. She was the sponsor who entered her students in the Bowl.
The Scholastic Bowl is a part of The Virginia High School League, Inc. that seeks to encourage student participation in desirable school activities by conducting or supporting programs of interscholastic activities in all fields. It is also a public organization consisting of non-boarding high schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The League sponsors an academic competition called “Scholastic Bowl” within groups leading to conference, regional and state recognition.
Their core purpose is to “stimulate interest and recognize student achievement in the academic program which is the foundation of a school’s mission,” states their vision.
“This is essentially just like an athletic team,” Parsons said. “We compete against the same teams we play football, basketball, etc. against, but the difference is that it’s an academic quiz competition versus an athletic one.”
“It used to be that only Beta Club members could compete. However, two years ago, it was opened to any student,” Aubrey Ford shared. Ford, Olivia Garman, Brianna Charlton, Laurel Pollock and Lynsey Taylor were the students who competed in this year’s competition. Pollock shared that she had competed before on a knowledge based team for her 4-H horse club called the ‘hippology team’.
“Students try out for the team just like any other athletic team here at CCHS,” Parsons said. “Typically, students who desire to be on the Scholastic Bowl are the more top performing students, academically.”
“They ask trivia type questions covering the subjects of science, math, history, English, foreign languages, art, music, pop culture, current events and more,” Parsons explained. “Many of the questions they ask are not questions that a ‘standard’ high school student knows,” Ford said. “They are extremely difficult questions.”
Though CCHS did not place, the students shared that they enjoyed their time and the competition itself. “I got to meet new people there,” Ford said. “We gave it our best shot.” Pollock said. “We had a lot of fun!”
The League’s Scholastic Bowl competition begins at the conference level with optional regular season and/or conference tournament competition designed to determine two schools that will advance to a regional tournament. Each region participating will hold a tournament to select the first and second place teams to advance to a state tournament.
“The competitions are a lot of fun and provide opportunities for the students to not only apply their academics, but learn new things,” Parsons shared. “Even though we didn’t place well in Scholastic Bowl, it still is fun for students to participate, meet other people and compete in a high-pressure situation.”
“I personally liked the challenge and believe that more emphasis should be put on knowledge of these subjects in the classroom and students should be encouraged to join,” Pollock said. “It could be a school day club activity for practice.”
Parsons added that the students were proud of the answers they did get correct and left with their heads held high. “We enjoyed the competition,” they all agreed. “We all looked at it as a learning experience and we all came back with more knowledge than we came with and that feels good.”