Scholars shine on trivia team
Call it revenge of the nerds.
"I like getting to show off, like, 'Ha ha, I beat you,'" said Lansing High School junior Matt Fischer, a member of the LHS Scholar Bowl team.
Ginny Scott has coached LHS teams for the academic trivia contest Scholar Bowl for about 20 years. She encourages students to use what is sometimes considered nerdiness to their advantage.
"This is an opportunity for people who are academically superior to strut their stuff," Scott said. "It's a lot of fun."
Scholar Bowl season is now in full swing. Students began competing in late October and are sharpening their skills in preparation for the league, regional and state meets in late January and February.
What does it take to become a Scholar Bowl competitor? At LHS, students first must take a qualifying test, which was administered in October. Scott said it was as much about what the students know as it was a trial to see if they could get up for the early-morning practices. The scholars practice twice a week for 35 minutes, she said.
Scott said she didn't rate students just on what questions they could answer. Freshmen and sophomores have not taken subjects that questions would cover, such as biology and calculus, she said.
So she has other criteria. Scott said many of her team members "love watching Jeopardy" and have the motivation to learn and study.
"This is all self-starters," she said.
Plus, students have to be aggressive in competition.
"Part of it is knowing the answers, part of it is telling them," she said. "It doesn't do any good if you know it if you're not gonna tell."
In competition, students are quizzed with questions about social studies, science, math, language arts, fine arts and, sometimes, foreign languages. Lansing Scholar Bowl team members said they had learned information that they wouldn't otherwise know from participating in the club - they now know "lots of artists," "flying buttresses," "nephritis" and "binary numbers - not many people just know that."
Kim Cavaleri, senior and team captain, said she was a big fan of the club.
"I like Scholar Bowl because it's super fun," she said. "For us nonathletes, it's something to do."