The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 7, 2013

Grand Valley wins Academic Challenge

Team members clinch victory in final round against Beaumont, Hillsdale

Star Beacon

ORWELL — When one thinks of competitive extracurricular activities, a sport is what usually pops into mind. However, one of the newer extracurricular activities to Grand Valley High School, the Scholastic Bowl team, is a surprisingly competitive one. This group of academically accelerated students meets on a regular basis and participates in interscholastic academic competitions, and the Grand Valley High School Scholastic Bowl team recently celebrated a huge victory at one of these competitions. Academic Challenge is a prestigious and widely known interscholastic competition, hosted each year by ABC News Channel 5.

The Cleveland television station invites three school teams to go head to head in a battle of wits each weekend. The teams each try to rack up as many points as possible during the five rounds of questions. Recently, Grand Valley’s Scholastic Bowl team traveled to Cleveland to compete against Beaumont High School and Hillsdale High School. The game started off with the “Lightning Round.” During this round, the three teams were tested on their agility as well as their knowledge. To answer the fast-paced questions, a member of a team had to hit the buzzer directly in front of them and be acknowledged by the host before answering. If that teammate answered the question correctly, their team received 10 points. However, if they answered wrong, their team’s score was penalized by 10 points. The lightning round involved questions about famous bays. At the end of the first round, the Grand Valley Scholastic Bowl team was tied for second place.

Next came the “Mix it Up” round. In this round, each team received a group of randomly selected questions, each worth 20 points. This round was uncontested, so each team had the chance to individually answer all their questions uninterrupted. If the team answered incorrectly, they received zero points. During this round, the members of each team introduced themselves. Out of the many members of the Grand Valley Scholastic Bowl team, three seniors were chosen to participate: Frances Harrison, Brady Nye and Jesslyn Watson. At the end of this round, Grand Valley was in third place.

Immediately following this round, the third round, also known as the “Picture Perfect” round, began. Students were to answer questions based on the pictures shown to them on the monitor. Each question was worth 10 points. If the team answered incorrectly, their total score was reduced by 10 points.

Still in third place, Grand Valley entered the fourth round entitled “Hot Picks.” Each team picked an envelope for a different team, and the other team had to answer the eight questions inside. The questions contained at least one math question, one science question and one visual question. If the team answered all of the questions correctly, they would receive a bonus of 25 points added onto their score. However, none of the teams answered all eight of their questions correctly, so no one received the bonus.

During the final round, the “Grab Bag” round, Grand Valley made an impressive comeback. Throughout the duration of this round, the teams once again used their buzzers to try to accumulate as many points as possible. Each verbal question was worth 20 and each visual question was worth 30 points. Each wrong question resulted in loss of points. Answering an astonishing amount of these questions correctly, the Grand Valley Scholastic Bowl team pulled themselves from last place to first in a matter of mere minutes. The buzzer signaled the end of the game, and Grand Valley was announced the official winner, having earned 400 points!

Adviser Mark Stimecz, said of the experience, “We went in on short notice. We started a little slow, but after we got over the lights and cameras, we were able to focus and pull out a good victory for the team.”

Junior Scholastic Bowl teammate Holly Nye agreed, stating, “I am glad I had the opportunity to watch my teammates take home the victory for Grand Valley after all the hard work.” This is only the second time that Grand Valley has won this competition. All the students and their adviser were thrilled. Academic Challenge aired on Jan. 26.

The next competition the students will participate in is the Copley High School Invitational on Feb. 28.

“As a whole we are moving in the right direction. As we prepare for the Ashtabula County Scholastic Bowl competition, we are also prepping for some other high profile tournaments with a chance to qualify for state,” Stimecz said. “It’s an exciting time for the Grand Valley Scholastic Bowl team!”