Quiz bowl, essay awards wrap up Black History Month for MLK Center

Feb. 28, 2014 @ 09:19 AM

Students from four Caldwell County Schools gathered at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center in Lenoir Thursday night, studied up and ready to compete for the center’s annual quiz bowl.

The 2014 Vanessa Hartso-Rodriquez Quiz Bowl marked the 20th anniversary of the event, with questions geared toward African-American history in the U.S. and even questions specific to the history of the black community in Caldwell County.

The middle school competition was first, a match between Gamewell Middle School and William Lenoir Middle School.

Each team had four members answering questions, and for Gamewell, it was Taylor Dickson, Zakarriyah Elleby, Kareem Steptoe and Tamlyn Wilfong. At the opposite table, from William Lenoir, sat John Pezzi, Bianca Hall, Jasmine Richardson, and Emori Lipford.

The first 20 questions of the contest were all answered correctly, until William Lenoir Middle was tripped up by the question, “What was the first black-owned company to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange?”

The question went to the Gamewell team, who quickly gave the correct answer, BET Holdings, and took the lead. This scenario repeated itself when the William Lenoir team was asked what earned Ralph Bunche a Nobel Prize. Again, Gamewell came through with the answer: mitigating an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

But in the second round, with correct answers worth 20 points instead of 10, William Lenoir was able to capitalize on a missed question by Gamewell of who published the North Star newspaper. William Lenoir’s team provided the answer: Frederick Douglas.

William Lenoir would go on to win the contest by 10 points, 240 to 250.

Then it was the high schools’ turn. From Hibriten High School, Hannah Bryant, Rae’ Anna McDowell, Julia Sherman and Emily Ingram competed against Shamiracle Bridges, Samantha Houston, Billy Dziesinski and Shereece Jackson.

The high school teams were nearly flawless, as all but one of the 42 questions in the competition were answered correctly. The only slip-up came from West Caldwell, when asked “Who was the first principal in the integrated school system in Caldwell County?”

After providing an incorrect answer, the question went to Hibriten, who quickly gave the correct response: Royal Everett.

That one question would lead Hibriten to victory over West Caldwell, 265 to 250.

The Black History Month essay contest winners were announced before the competition began, and Virginia Scheer’s essay on Crissy Thomas, a recently elected Lenoir City Council member, won first place. Scheer said she wanted to do the essay on Thomas because “she is an example of strong leadership, ambition and character in our community.”

“It felt really great,” Thomas said, of being the subject for the winning essay, saying it was nice “to be able to reflect on all the different things I’ve done, and humbling to know that someone recognized that from the community.”

Thomas added that she hopes people will take from it the need to be involved and active, rather than just talking about it.

Second place in the essay contest went to Jardee Hood, and third went to Kala Perkins.