USD 413 public relations
Waiting in the Chanute High School office for the rest of the Scholars Bowl team to show up, Jillian Vogel quizzes John Stanley with “Who wrote Pride and Prejudice?” and follows that with which books were authored by Emily and Charlotte Bronte?
Jay Brown tells her he’s memorized paintings by Picasso, Van Gogh, and da Vinci, and that Monet liked lily pads and dancers.
What was the name of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first book?” Vogel responds. Brown looks it up and provides the title, “This Side of Paradise.”
Seniors Brown, Stanley and Vogel, joined by junior Alex Rodriquez, and sophomores Thomas Ramsey and Britin Hanna, are headed for the State 4A Scholars Bowl competition to be held Saturday in Wellington. The CHS team finished third at regionals last weekend and will be one of eight teams to go head-to-head against every team to make the finals. Their third place finish is not an indicator of how they may perform at State.
“We didn’t prepare at all this year and we were still one question away from placing first in our region,” Brown said. “That made us realize the natural talent we have on our team and also made us realize if we refined that talent, we could be state champions.”
So they are studying, but it’s more a matter of bolstering their weaker areas. Coach Joe Holman acquired some books on Amazon and passed one out to each team member to read specifics in the areas the group isn’t as strong. Assistant Coach Adam Wilcox is helping them with current events from 2019.
Vogel and Stanley are learning authors, Brown said, while he’s tackling composers and painters.
“You two study the sharps and minors, too,” he tells them, referring to music terminology.
The questions in a Scholars Bowl round are worth the same number of points, but there is only one fine arts question or one current events question, whereas there are three math questions.
It’s a general rule that a team that carries the math section has a better chance of winning the round, coach Holman said.
In math, there’s not much chance of having something obscure thrown at them, they explained. In math, “it’s an arm wrestle,” Brown said. “Someone is going to get it, it’s just a race between the two teams.”
An advantage for this team is their balance in math. There is someone “fresh” in each area, Vogel said, from algebra and geometry to calculus, trigonometry and statistics.
“I’m just the fast algebra guy,” Ramsey said.
“One of the things we do fairly well is time management,” Hanna added. One or two people will be designated to watch the clock in the room.
With some questions, it’s a matter of which team can hit the buzzer faster. In math, they may have 30 or 45 seconds to complete an equation. When time gets short, the CHS team’s ability to work together comes into play.
“You don’t really think of it as a team sport, but when we don’t work together, we don’t do well,” Vogel said.
“We work more as a team than any other team in the league. We have natural specialties,” Brown said, but “we don’t just know facts. We’re also an intelligent group of people and we discuss and can guess the right answer just from discussing.”
If it’s a question on government totalitarianism, though, it falls to Rodriquez, who’s a big fan of the social sciences.
Unlike other teams whose members are assigned specific areas to know very well, the CHS team has a broad base of knowledge that they’ve acquired over time.
“Over the years, we’re always looking for experiences,” Brown said. “Everything you do is practicing for Scholars Bowl.”