Test Your Knowledge With Academic Challenge


Paul Borcherding

Todd Francis is the sponsor in charge of quiz bowl at Allen.

Paul Borcherding, Video Editor

One activity that enriches student life in colleges is known as the Academic Challenge, rebranded as the ‘quiz bowl,’ at Allen Community College. In this activity, students are given the opportunity to show-off their knowledge in academic areas such as math, science, social science, and in different areas like music or art.

Todd Francis, the chemistry teacher at Allen, has been the sponsor for the quiz bowl for 17 years. His role as a sponsor is to recruit students, set up practices, and plan a budget for travel expenses, meals, and state fees.

“This is the same competition you see in high school for scholar’s bowl,” Francis said. “Allen is part of 12 community colleges across the state who attend competition.”

Paul Borcherding
Th team collects binders of practice questions taken from past competitions.

To prepare students for competition, Francis quizzes them on a wide variety of topics and the students must answer the questions in a fixed amount of time.They do practice rounds together and pick out the questions from binders from past competitions.

“The students will have their knowledge in a number of areas,” Francis said. “I may have students who are strong in science, math, social science, fine arts and humanities, or even student who are a jack-of-all trades.”

When it comes to competing, the students have five seconds to answer each toss-up and have ten seconds as a group to answer a bonus question. Each team uses buzzers to respond to the question as quickly as possible. The most that can make a team is four students.

“They get used to the tone of the question, and how it’s asked and feeling confident to buzz in and answer the question,” Francis. “I think for a lot of students that is a hang-up because they may know the answer but they don’t want to buzz in and possibly get it wrong. However, I think it helps build confidence in the students. Be wrong, it happens, but sometimes you’re going to be right.”

In the past, Allen has won two state championships, the last in 2004. The team finished third last year and Freshman Claire Moran was the state MVP. Francis says that Moran had the highest point average for an individual student over the course of the competition.

Allen’s team has won many awards in the past including the state championship in 2004.

“They get students who are very competitive,” Francis said. “But in the end, they realize, ‘Hey, good match.’ It’s a fun competition!”

Throughout the school year, the team competes five times a year. Their next meet is set for Saturday, Dec. 2 at Cowley Community College. Later in the spring, Allen will host a meet on Feb. 24 and it will conclude with a state championship in Salina on April 6.

Right now, there is no official members of the quiz bowl at Allen. Francis is always looking for students interested in joining. The team practices every Wednesday starting at 2 p.m. There are also scholarships available for any students interested in competing.

“Part of my job is looking for students to participate,” Francis concluded. “If you’re interested, come in and join. We meet every Wednesday at 2 p.m. and we’ll go from there.”