An educator’s dream: students defeat teachers at quiz bowl tournament

Teachers hollered. Students sat in silent anticipation. Boos were howled by St. Paul Academy and Summit School coveted teachers and mentors. No, this is not Freaky Friday, this was the teachers vs. students quiz bowl tournament on Apr. 12. With the officiality of the Huss Center stage, the stakes felt high. In a close game, the student Quiz Bowl team prevailed and defeated the teacher team with a final score of 400-340.

For 9th grader Katherine Goodman, she enjoys the opportunity quiz bowl gives her to dive into her interests in a competitive setting:

What you learn to rely on is recalling these things that you see earlier, or just recalling answers to different questions

— junior Max Moen

“A lot of it is interesting. The topics are pretty broad. I’m a person who likes more literature and history things, so I know more about that. For some of the older kids who know more science and like science are better at answering those questions. I like how it’s already building off of my interests,” Goodman said.

After an impromptu team was built in middle school when she was in 8th grade, she was thrust into the realm of quiz bowl life. At first, it was Goodman’s brother that joined. When it came time for the tournament, the team realized they needed more people, so naturally, Goodman stepped in. This is where her passion for quiz bowl was ignited.

“I really enjoyed it and had a lot of fun. That’s when I won my first every trophy for something because I came in 7th place individually. When I knew that there was a quiz bowl team in high school, I really wanted to do that so I did,” Goodman said.

Contrasting a fresh face to the team, quiz bowl veteran junior Max Moen reminisces on his personal growth on the team.

“I’ve been doing quiz bowl since 9th grade, I’m really into trivia and things like that. As I’ve gotten older I’ve gone up in leadership positions so now I’m the vice president. There are lots of different topics: math, science, history. Sometimes random knowledge is really helpful, but interestingly enough, there’s not a lot on pop culture. You need to have a more wide breadth of knowledge other than just pop culture,” Moen said.

For the students who are not a part of quiz bowl, the idea of being quizzed on seemingly random tidbits of knowledge may feel daunting. Yet for the members of quiz bowl, the information simply builds off of what they already know and enjoy.

I like how it’s already building off of my interests

— 9th grader Katherine Goodman

“I don’t actually sit and study. Throughout what I’m doing in my daily life, if there’s something I don’t know I tend to look it up. What you learn to rely on is recalling these things that you see earlier, or just recalling answers to different questions that are often phrased in similar ways. I do it for the fun of it, it’s a fun hobby,” Moen said.

As far as the actual tournament, it was a tight competition. With hilarious chants from both teams, it was surely an event that culminated years of acquired knowledge for both teachers and students.

Win, lose or draw, the triumph of students over their teachers represents a full circle of education. And maybe some spite, too.