ROCK FALLS – Extra-curricular activities are considered to be an extension of classroom learning, but plenty of learning outside of the standard high school curriculum is done in scholastic bowl.
No need to step outside of a classroom.
Rock Falls High School hosted Dixon and Morrison for a scholastic bowl meet Monday inside a history classroom. Panels of five participants from each school went up against one another in dual competition to test their knowledge on more than just history – math, science, literature, music, sports and far-fetched tidbits of trivia questions were tackled.
Morrison senior Griffin Vos has enjoyed quiz competitions for most of his life. He started answering competitive questions when he was 5, and now is the captain of his school’s scholastic bowl team.
“Scholastic bowl is a breeding ground for knowledge,” Vos said. “It’s a lot of studying things that you would have never thought you would have to study. It’s interesting to know a lot of different things and to see how well other people know different facts.
“It’s competitive, but it also brings people together.”
With scratch paper on desks, pencils on one hand and a buzzer attached to a cord gripped in another, the first to buzz in and answer correctly gets 10 points for their team. A failed guess gives the other team a chance to try.
A few sentences of clues are given before a question is asked regarding the correct answer. Sometimes, questions are lumped into a theme.
Vos and Rock Falls senior Breck Tschosik led their respective panels in their game, and both traded off on most guesses. He spends plenty of time on the internet reading about history and other useful information that he may not learn during school.
“It’s not much of a spectator sport, but it’s definitely something that is interesting to watch,” Tschosik said, “especially if there’s topics that you know about, then you can see how fast people can reclaim that sort of information and recall it.”
Here’s one of the questions:
“This is the first name of the front man of the band that recorded the instrumental song ‘Green Onions.’ Another man with this first name is a wrestler whose catch phrase was, ‘Can you dig it, sucka?’ This name is shared by the leader of the MGs. For 10 points, give the first name of the man who established the Tuskegee Institute, an African-American teacher named Washington?”
Vos incorrectly guessed “George,” but Tschosik got it right with “Booker.”
Music of the 1960s and sports entertainment wrestlers are not taught in a classroom, and that requires plenty of outside study. One series of questions involved movie directors named Jenkins.
Rock Falls coach Ed Mulvaney lays out numerous questions in several different genres during practices, and did so when Morrison and Dixon kicked off the event against each other. Mulvaney, a retired RFHS teacher and former Rock Falls mayor, encourages his kids to watch plenty of “Jeopardy” to learn about many things.
“It makes the kids think,” Mulvaney said. “Sometimes today a lot of young people are not thinking or pushing themselves toward read news, listen to podcasts, or whatever. I tell my kids that Jeopardy is your friend.
“It’s about enlarging your scope and framework of the world that’s around you.”
Morrison coach Brian Bartoz agreed.
“It takes a broad base of knowledge to really succeed in scholastic bowl,” Bartoz said. “You have to know a great deal about a number of academic subjects, and to have a passion for the content. It takes a lot of independent study outside of the classroom to succeed in this arena.”
The Illinois High School Association and the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Illinois operate state tournament contests at the end of the season. Masonic sectionals are Feb. 15 and its state finals are March 7. Regionals for IHSA competition begin March 9, sectionals are March 14 and state is March 20.
In masonic competition, monetary awards are given to top teams at both sectional and state levels for scholarships and academic purposes.
Most of Morrison’s 14 competitors were on a team last year that won a Masonic sectional tournament. Bartoz hopes the experience will lead to greater success next year.
Tschosik hopes his team, which also has plenty of experience, can take home a tournament championship this year.
“Everyone’s doing a real good job, he said. “They’re all definitely improving from last year. We had a really good team, and this year we’re topping them.”
Morrison 200, Dixon 190
Rock Falls 290, Morrison 130
Rock Falls 270, Dixon 100
• One story by this man is set in the year 2081, when “everybody was finally equal.” This author of a story about a 14-year-old genius named Harrison Bergeron wrote a novel that depicts the firebombing of Dresden. Billy Pilgrim appears in what author’s “Slaughterhouse-Five?”
• Rho squared times this function of the polar angle is used to change an integral from Cartesian to spherical coordinates. This function’s Taylor series begins “x, minus x cubed over 3 fractional.” In Euler’s formula, this function is multiplied by i. This odd function gives 1 at pi over 2. In a right triangle, what trig function gives the ratio of the opposite side length to the hypotenuse length?
• Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
• Sine (x)