Are you smarter than a high schooler?
It’s not as easy to master the knowledge needed to excel in secondary school, as about 65 area students found out Wednesday at Hermiston High School’s Knowledge Bowl tournament.
With teams from Echo, Hermiston, Helix, Stanfield and Umatilla — as well as one from Connell High School in Connell, Washington — students answered questions in history, science, mathematics, geography and literature. Each of the three preliminary rounds consisted of 50 questions, and the top three teams went on to compete in the final round.
The winning team was from Stanfield. They were followed by a second place tie between two teams from Hermiston.
To find a champion, students were split into four different classrooms where all received the same set of questions.
“They are very difficult,” said Maggie Hughes-Boyd, one of the instructors of Hermiston High School’s Knowledge Bowl club. “A lot are things they’ll learn as they get older. And sometimes they’ll be really good context clues, so they can guess.”
The students from Connell, about 35 miles north of Pasco, said they compete at tournaments around Washington as well. The small high school has a club that meets during lunch to practice.
“We tried watching different videos,” said Cindy Brogan, a biology teacher and co-advisor of the team. “But their education at Connell High School is what really prepares them.”
Reece Brown, one of two seniors on the team, said some amount of self-training is involved, too.
“Sometimes it’s just about being curious,” he said. “My favorite questions are just the random ones that I know and that everyone else doesn’t.”
He added that most people on the team tend to specialize in one specific area of knowledge.
John Lauck, the Hermiston club’s other advisor, said he estimated Knowledge Bowl club had been active at the high school for at least 12 years. Lauck, a former Hermiston High School teacher, now teaches math at Blue Mountain Community College. He worked as one of the readers, joking with students in between questions.
After a math question that no one answered correctly, one student remarked that they had just learned the answer the day before in pre-calculus.
“Why would you forget that if you learned it yesterday?” Lauck asked in mock dismay.
“I have a ‘D’ in pre-calc,” the student quipped.
Here are several questions from the first round of the event.
1. If the perimeter of a rectangular field is 70 meters, and the area is 300 square meters, what is its width?
2. In relation to automotive batteries, for what does the abbreviation RC stand?
3. “The Year the Yankees lost the Pennant,” “The Devil and Daniel Webster,” “Mephisto” and “Bart Sells his Soul” are based on what character of German legend?
4: Lava can reach the surface through these openings, which may be just a few meters wide and several kilometers long.
1: 15 meters
2: Reserve capacity