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Students build confidence and critical thinking skills in Academic Quiz Bowl

Students smiling and competing in Academic Quiz Bowl on stage.


Learning is continuous, and for some, it’s also a competition.


On Feb. 7, Academic Quiz Bowl students from Barr, Westridge, and Walnut Middle Schools competed in a test of knowledge at Grand Island Senior High.


Each school competed with an A and B team at the GISH sponsored event. Six students compete on each team, plus alternates. Questions are timed and are given orally. Participants are quizzed on a variety of topics including history, literature, math, science, and trivia. The first student to buzz in and be acknowledged gets to answer. If they answer correctly, the student earns a bonus question for the team to collaborate on and answer.


Denise Pedersen, Academic Quiz Bowl sponsor at Barr Middle School, said throughout her years with Quiz Bowl, she has seen students grow.


“I have seen students that are not involved in any other extracurricular activities be involved and learn how to work with others and demonstrate leadership,” Pedersen said. “It builds confidence in students.”


At the GISH competition teams competed in a round-robin-style tournament encountering five matches total. 


Stacy Vogel, Academic Quiz Bowl sponsor at Westridge Middle School, said because both Barr A and Westridge A had 4 wins and 1 loss, the tie breaker was the number of points scored in all matches combined. She said Westridge was fortunate enough to have scored more points.


The Cougars will move on to the
ESU 10 6-8 Academic Quiz Bowl tournament held at the University of Nebraska at Kearney on March 18.


Vogel said students have been brushing up on their knowledge of rivers, grammar, binary numbers, and presidents.


“The bracket is usually filled with about 36 teams for this [ESU 10] event,” Vogel said. “It is a great day of competition.”

Students competing in quiz bowl.

Students are able to learn new things while being challenged in Academic Quiz Bowl.


I tried out for quiz bowl because it gives my brain something to do,” said Barr 8th Grader Calvin Schneider. “I enjoy the questions and learning new things.”


Barr eighth graders Ayden Kuebler and Addisen Bishop said being involved in Quiz Bowl lets them shine in a different area and offers a sense of accomplishment.


“The reason that I tried out for quiz bowl was because I know a lot of random facts,” Bishop said.


“I enjoy [Academic Quiz Bowl] because it gives us a chance to put academic skills to the test,” Kuebler said.

Students competing in quiz bowl.

Along with getting to know students, Pedersen said her favorite part of Academic Quiz Bowl is getting to see students
excel in analyzing, problem solving, and listening. 


“These are great skills for life. Some struggle to work together but they learn to value the strengths of other teammates,” Pedersen continued “It is fun to see them speak up and debate to come up with the correct answer for bonus questions.”


Like Pedersen, Vogel said she has also seen students’ confidence grow through Academic Quiz Bowl.


“The game show format of academic quiz bowl galvanizes students to want to learn about the topics that they don't already know,” Vogel said. “I have seen Academic Quiz Bowl benefit students' confidence, their camaraderie, their inquisitiveness, and their academic performance.”


Students competing in quiz bowl.


Great job to our Walnut Wildcats, Barr Bulldogs, and Westridge Cougars who competed in Academic Quiz Bowl!


Good luck to our Westridge Cougars at the competition in March!