Rcms Sweeps Academic Bowl For The Third Year

Whispers, concentration and excitement ruled the day



Quinn Owen and Katie Schouten look on as John Buskirk writes down the answer the team has decided on during the Gila County Junior High Academic League competition at the Rim Country Middle School.

Katie Schouten, John Buskirk, Cody Schuler and Quinn Owen can tell you what type of dance is spelled using the scientific abbreviations for: aluminum, uranium and hydrogen.

When it comes to literature, the team has more savvy than a shelf of Cliff Notes.

Their combined knowledge allowed them to sweep the competition for the third straight year in the Gila County Junior High Academic League.


Katie Schouten, Quinn Owen and Cody Schuler tally up the team scores after the competition Wednesday.

"I like the lightning round even though I got the wrong answer this time," Schuler said. He plans to compete as an eighth grader for the 2008/2009 academic bowl.

RCMS met middle school teams from Holy Angels (who held the trophy in 2005), Globe, Miami and San Carlos in six academic bowls this year.

The first round of each meet is 20 written questions. When master of ceremonies Len Leverance gave parents in the audience a list of the questions, adult heads shook in consternation as they tried to come up with the correct answers.

"Some answers we don't even know," said Vicki Layton, the seventh grade English teacher who advises the team from Globe's High Desert Middle School.


Cody Schuler is under pressure to earn a third-round point.

The questions are not publishable because of agreements with the schools and the company providing the questions.

Knowledge of foreign language words that English has adopted, geography, congressional deals and the nature of the solar system were all areas of student smarts.

A few questions had a superfluous fact tossed in to further confuse the students.

Spelling counted.

RCMS coach Mike Buskirk gave a few examples of the kinds of trivia the teams studies:

  • Who wrote a book which could have been entitled, "Small Abode on the Great American Desert"?
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    The lightning round began with Skylar Decker (Holy Angels), Rebecca Mawson (Miami), Justin Purcella (Globe), John Buskirk and Jesse Morgan (he played in rounds one and three for San Carlos).

  • If a paper is folded in half seven times, how many individual squares will the creases define?

Each team can field five members per round in a meet.

For the past three meets, Schouten, Buskirk, Schuler and Owen have won it as a quorum.

Owen, the only sixth grader on the team, sat in on the twice-weekly lunch hour practices, "so I'd be good for next year."

"When three people quit the day before a meet, I jumped in," he said.

The teams have a limited time to confer on the same question before a single member must answer aloud the 20 questions of the second round.


Katie Schouten and John Buskirk ponder the answer to a question during the first round.

Irene Pitterle of Holy Angels said she prefers the group questions in the first two rounds rather than the "lightning round."

"Push that button with a good solid push," Mike Buskirk told the students as they practiced with their buzzers for the final round.

Each team sent one student to sit in chairs in the front of the room to face four, or five in the case of RCMS, questions.

Under the staring eyes of their classmates and a few spectators, they had to come up with the answer and have the quickest fingers.

Expressions ranged from blank to ‘yeah I got it right' to ‘aw man, I knew that one.'

Students scored one team point for a correct answer, lost one with an incorrect answer.

"It's fun to challenge yourself," Schouten said.

The six meet tally was: RCMS 132, Globe 109, Miami 94, Holy Angels 82 and San Carlos 73.

"A lot of the time you don't know what you actually do know, then you find out," she added.

For those who don't know, the answers are: hula, Laura Ingalls Wilder and 128.

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