BOONE LIFE: Beyond the buzzer

Friday, April 27, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

HALLSVILLE — After the halls clear out at the end of the school day, and the clatter of closing lockers and excited students fades away, the beeping of buzzers can be heard in a far corner of Hallsville High School.

That beeping is the Hallsville quiz bowl team. Quiz bowl is an academic competition, with two teams of four students facing off to answer trivia questions. Teams battle during “toss-up” questions, which can be answered by anyone, for the opportunity to answer additional bonus questions as a team.

The Hallsville quiz bowl team has 14 team members and is coached by chemistry teacher Scott Allen.  The team practices after school three days a week — Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday — and also practices Thursday mornings. Along with the formal practices, students spend a significant amount of time on their own studying and filling out weekly study logs.

“I really like how much time and effort everyone on the team puts into it. They’re all putting hours each week into quiz bowl, and they’re not just slacking off," said Lee March, a member of the varsity team.

All the studying pays off, as the team captured its second consecutive Mid-Missouri Conference championship against Southern Boone on March 3. The team won the championship match, 440-280, along with going undefeated during regular season conference play. The team has won four out of the last five championships. For a school of roughly 400 students, the team stays competitive with teams from schools four to five times its size and places well at regional Missouri tournaments.

Although all the students are serious about quiz bowl and spend hours preparing to compete, practices remain light and friendly. Teammates poke fun at each other, cracking jokes as well as exchanging high fives. Allen routinely helps the students with various memory devices to help them retain different bits of trivia, and the students also help to teach others about their areas of expertise between questions.

March said his areas of expertise include geography, history, as well as “trash,” which consists of popular culture trivia, including sports, music and television. Madeline Koenig-Schappe, another member of the varsity team, specializes in literature.

"My favorite thing is the sense of community and trust that everyone on the team has to have,” said Koenig-Schappe. “Because we all depend on each other for specific things, you can't go in alone."

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