NEWS: Scholastic Bowl buzzes with knowledge and fun

A competition similar to Jeopardy! Featuring teams of five students answering questions about fine arts, math, and more, Plainfield East High School is back for an all new season. This is Scholastic Bowl.

The team meets every Tuesday after school in room 109 until about 3pm. Head Coach and Sponsor of Scholastic Bowl, Kelly Ferraro-Leipus said, “We play practice rounds and have guest speakers from the team present to us on different topics. Our meets begin around November and our final meet (regionals) typically occurs at the end of February or beginning of March.”

Scholastic Bowl offers students various opportunities such as meeting akin people and having fun.

Senior and varsity team member, Ibrahim Tayeb, said, “It’s given me the chance to meet new people who are also like-minded and very smart, especially from other schools. It’s been a lot of fun practicing with them and learning new things.”

During practices, students rehearse through mock competitions and then further work on areas that require more attention.

Guest speakers from the team may also present information on various topics. “Every so often we’ll have somebody make a slideshow about a certain topic that everybody learns about and reads,” Senior and varsity team member, Samuel Dudlo said.

Practices for Scholastic Bowl are preparation for competitions, which makes the pacing of drills vital to performance in meets.

Dudlo said, “We do practice rounds where we set up all the buzzers like you would for a normal game. The sponsors always have the old questions from previous years, and we’ll go over those because they do reuse questions sometimes.” 

During competitions, you must have confidence in the team. It is important to: “Trust your teammates that they know their subjects, and it’s okay if we don’t answer every question,” Tayeb said.

Competitions are generally on Thursdays from November to the end of January. Ferraro-Leipus said, “Most of them are quad meets consisting of about 3 rounds. Each round consists of 20 questions, or more in the case of a tiebreaker, and is between two schools. Our most intense matches are typically against Plainfield North and Minooka.”

A tradition the Scholastic Bowl team has before competitions is baking brownies.

“One of our teammates, Will, always makes us brownies. They’re good luck,” Tayeb said. 

Competitions for Scholastic Bowl are a mixture of emotions, due to high stress. Dudlo said “It’s kind of  like a weird balance of fun and stressful.” 

Along with a mixture of emotions, Scholastic Bowl is also a mixture of people. “Honestly, I feel like a lot of people are very different. We’ve had people who are athletes also in the Scholastic Bowl… I don’t think there’s necessarily a trait that determines if you want to be in the Scholastic Bowl,” Dudlo said.

Ferraro-Leipus said, “You don’t have to be the most outgoing or outspoken person, but we definitely have some people like that. You just have to have a good sense of humor, work ethic, and a passion for learning new things.”

The requirements for joining Scholastic Bowl are a preferred 90% attendance rate for meets with communication about absences, and being ideal representatives of Plainfield East High School, including displaying good sportsmanship.

This activity is an outlet of sorts. Dudlo said, “Sometimes there’s useless information that you’re not going to use in your daily life and this is an outlet for it.”

Scholastic Bowl is also a way to answer questions about your favorite topics.

Sponsors of the team assist in helping students reach their full potential in the form of speeches.

Tayeb said, “They always give us great motivation and team speeches. They also help you figure out what you’re good at.”

Ferraro-Leipus said her coaching style is “Student-centered. I really base the year upon the students I am working with. At the beginning of the year, we have students apply as captains; the goal is for varsity captains to become independent and gain leadership experience.”

Scholastic Bowl is an opportunity to express knowledge, make friends, and compete. Tayeb said, “It’s a lot of fun, just come check it out.” 

To join Scholastic Bowl, email Eileen Corcoran or Kelly Ferraro-Leipus before November. “You just have to have a good sense of humor, work ethic, and a passion for learning new things,” Ferraro-Leipus said.