Scholar's Bowl

The Central High School team competing in Scholar’s Bowl attained the first state title for that event at the high school level in St. Joseph history on May 7.

Six students from Central High School have won the first St. Joseph state championship for Scholar’s Bowl, a team-based competition with rules not unfamiliar to fans of “Jeopardy!”

The event held May 7 in Columbia, Missouri, saw the team captained by Frederick Rivas-Giorgi achieve the highest honors in Class No. 6, a division reserved for the highest-population schools. The five public and private high schools in St. Joseph field their own Scholar’s Bowl teams in various divisions, but Central has obtained the first Missouri-wide title of any kind in the event. Rivas-Giorgi is graduating later this month but will continue to lead the CHS team to the Scholar’s Bowl National Academic Quiz Tournament on May 28 and 29 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Rivas-Giorgi said Scholar’s Bowl has steadily grown in popularity in the time he has been competing.

“The game rewards your depth of knowledge,” he said. “It is all about who knows more, who has worked harder, who has studied harder. It’s just like any competition, really, it is about your commitment to being successful.”

Especially with nationals right on the horizon, the success the team has attained leaves one to think first and foremost about what greater heights might be reached. Among 300 qualified teams, Central placed 51st in 2021 at that event, in a bit of reset after the 2020 COVID-19 shutdown. Rivas-Giorgi captained the 2019 team to a 31st-place national showing.

“It’s ultimately about going in there and competing at the highest level we can,” he said. “And as well as trying to build each other up as a team. This is a teamwork game as well. For sure, someone might not know everything, but there’s always someone on your team who might. So it’s key as well to build up other players and get everyone to the point where they have the knowledge and confidence to win the game.”

Coach Jeff Carter, who teaches social studies at Central, founded the team in the 2010-11 academic year. As he himself graduated from Central, Carter said, he feels a particularly high honor in leading his boys to bring a state title back to the school.

“It feels super rewarding to have initiated this program and to take it to its highest point yet,” Carter said. “We took some lumps early on. My goal all along was incremental progress: First, let’s get some kids who can compete. Then, let’s win a game in a local tournament. Then, let’s win several games. Then, let’s win a tournament. Then, let’s go to state. And now, we’ve won state. We’ve done everything we set our minds to, working together over time to get there. It’s really special.”

Marcus Clem can be reached at marcus.clem@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowClem

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