East Quiz Bowl is on their way to the National Competition


When the buzzers come out, the hands go up, and the textbooks get rolling, that only means one thing: it’s Quiz Bowl season. Every year, the students from Mr.VanderBee’s classroom assemble to compete in one of the most challenging academic events in the nation. East Grand Rapids’ tradition of excellence has been upheld in the past through quizbowl, with the pioneers reaching the national championship for the second year in a row. This year will be no different with students who have potential to make it farther than last year. While last year teams from Detroit such as Detroit Catholic Central dominated the national field, VanderBee has high hopes for this year’s team.

“If the students and the team can work hard outside of the classroom, which they have been incredible at, then the goal is to lead up to that caliber,” VanderBee said.

In order to live up to this goal, however, East must face many opponents and even more topic questions that can range from science and math to the fine arts. High school senior and Quiz Bowl Captain Kees Duncan ‘23 emphasizes the importance of trusting in your teammates when going up to the game table and not knowing what questions will be asked.

“I’m not the fastest at the math, so I can kind of sit back and trust my teammates that they’re
gonna get that,” Duncan said.

This means that each student has to stick to their specialized area of study and contribute everything they can towards the greater good of the team. Overall, there are some aspects of the game that everyone can still improve on

“History is always the main focus, so we’re trying to hit that higher this year,” VanderBee said.
“And really not just relying on the random questions that come up and hope we get history, but actually finding those things,” VanderBee said.

This has proven to be a challenge because of how Quiz Bowl is structured here at East. At other schools, the team is much more devoted to the game and has more resources. Some teams meet
every single day when competing and some schools even have Quiz Bowl as a class that they can take. What this means for East is that they have to compete as hard as you can with the time that the students have. This includes simply retaining the information that they learn while sitting in school.

“So a lot of the practice is just them doing homework and focus- ing in their other classes by spe-cifically, being able to strengthen their focus areas,” VanderBee said.

Writing essays for English classes, doing history reports for history classes, and even standardized testing can have curriculums that cross over into what is asked during Quiz Bowl competitions.
Duncan has felt more prepared and confident when taking these tests from his extra studying of math.

“Math problems that I had done two years ago, but those that could have come up in a Quizbowl competition and it was good to know, also helped me for the SAT,” Duncan said.

Putting comparison aside, however, Quiz Bowl is a great opportunity that helps both inside and outside of the classroom.

“I have loved seeing the students not only do well academically at these tournaments but also come together as a group. Having students come together, and be able to work together and have
fun and succeed in these areas is really a joy to me,” VanderBee said.

At the end of the day, having passion for these subjects is all that matters as the team enters the postseason competitions. This year they will compete in Chicago against a random combination of
three hundred teams across the nation. They have until the second week of June to prepare themselves for this cutthroat tournament. Last year, East finished with a record of four wins to six losses and placed two hundred and twenty first overall. This was not the season outcome that VanderBee was hoping for, so at the very least he hopes that they can improve this record.
The championship itself presents the chance to showcase the team’s passion for learning with its applications, something that they can be grateful for every time they meet in the math hallway after school.