Learning While Competing

Scholars Bowl Prepares for Its Upcoming Season


Logan Kraft

Seniors Jackson Orrick and Cody Slifer compete in a practice round after school on Sept. 16.

Miranda Elgin, Logan Kraft, and Zach Darby

Senior Jackson Orrick reacts to one of the practice questions. (Logan Kraft)

Asking questions, smashing buttons and throwing answers are all what comes with joining Scholars Bowl. 

Scholars Bowl is an extracurricular activity that revolves around a competition where contestants answer trivia questions on a time limit. The questions asked in these competitions vary from fine arts, sciences, social sciences, etc. Practice rounds are a good way for students to learn what a real competition would look like, giving them a feel of how it would work competing with other schools. 

Will Schowalter, a French and AP Language and Composition teacher, said that he “jumped at the chance” for this opportunity to become the newest Scholars Bowl sponsor.

“For the last two years, we’ve had a new coach every year,” Schowalter said. “The first person had it, left Olathe West. Last year was Ms. Bicks and she left Olathe West, and at the end of last year, Mr. Umphrey reached out to me and asked if I would be interested, and I said, ‘Heck yes.’”

While not very many people participate, their prowess more than makes up for their lack in numbers. They even went to advanced competitions last year.

“I think there was only like, between five and 10 [people],” Schowalter said. “There wasn’t many, but they were very good! Last year, they went to regionals and state competition. They crushed it last year. They had a couple of seniors who were really talented.”

Allowing students to contribute to the competition, each school submits a certain amount of questions, then experienced coaches pick from the best ones and use them for competitions.

Senior Evanne Alstrom looks on as sophomore Lydia Valverde reads questions during a practice round. (Logan Kraft)

“Every school is gonna contribute 35 questions,” Schowalter said. “Your school will do 35 questions and everybody else will do 35 questions and then they kinda pool those together and then a few experienced coaches meet up, go through all the questions, pick ‘em out, they select a few really good ones for state.”

A new student to OW and long time member of the Scholar Bowl scene, junior Carmello Streckfus, reflected on some of his experiences from the past. 

“I originally joined Scholars Bowl five years ago because it gave me a way to test myself,” Streckfus said. “A way to learn while competing.” 

From first hand experiences, Streckfus gives us a bit of insight on how competitions usually work.

“I’ve been to a lot of competitions in the past, as far as Scholars, goes it’s done respectfully and uniformly,” Streckfus said. “Two teams enter a room, questions get asked, questions get answered, and one team comes out on top. However you’re going against multiple schools not just one or two.”