It all came down to fair trade.
That was the answer East Valley High School’s Knowledge Bowl team missed. They took second place, the best the school has ever done at state competition.
Last week the team of Tim Ngo, Rachel Loe, Bryce Pointer, Gaelyn Prior, Cordelia Achen and Sean Haight competed in the 2A division in Arlington, Wash.
“They’ve just gotten better and better and better,” said Lori Jacobsen, the team’s adviser. Jacobsen took over the program three years ago and started recruiting students she thought would excel on the team. She said she looks for students who are not only smart, but have the self-confidence to step up to answer a question.
“We were all forcibly drafted,” joked Pointer, who is one of two sophomores in the group along with Prior. The rest are juniors.
“We’re all going to return next year,” Loe said.
At the competition, teams take a written test before participating in oral rounds. In the final round, EV competed against Lakewood High School from Western Washington, losing by just one point.
“They’re still smarting from it,” Jacobsen said.
During the last two questions of the event, Loe said, “the air was tangibly tight.”
All of the students are on the honor roll. Ngo, Haight and Prior said they are good at science and math. Pointer likes history and geography. Achen specializes in politics and Loe is good at literature, art and history.
Four of them, Ngo, Pointer, Achen and Loe are also on the school’s History Bowl team which is competing at nationals April 26 and 27 in Arlington, Va. When news traveled that this history team didn’t have the funds to travel to the competition, an anonymous donor paid for the trip.
While the group enjoys the competitive side of Knowledge Bowl and learning new things, it’s the camaraderie they like the most.
“These guys are actually really fun to be around,” Pointer said.
Achen said she liked the questions. Not only is it a good feeling when she is right, but when she misses one, she gets to learn something new.
Ngo said he likes the opportunity to be competitive in academics. Haight said he’s always liked trivia, but Knowledge Bowl turns the trivia into a way to be social.
Now that they have made their mark as the second-place winners, the team members are looking forward to next year. Pointer looked at this year’s trophy and is already thinking of the changes they will make.
“Next year, it will be 3 to 4 inches taller,” he said.
Jacobsen said it is nice the team was able to bring recognition to the school for academic reasons. She is very proud of them and talks about not only how hard they work, but the fun they have.
“They are so much fun,” she said. “We laugh our heads off.”