A Battle Of Wits

Scholar Bowl gives students an opportunity to sharpen their knowledge in a team-based extracurricular

Mollie Banstetter


Sruthi Ramesh

Mr. Schaper simulates a competition by giving the team practice trivia questions.

Ianne Salvosa, Assistant Editor

This after-school extracurricular activity meets on Tuesdays in Mr. Schaper’s room. The team players train to enrich their knowledge on school subjects. Competitions are held during the winter for this club. Can you guess what club this is?

If you answered Scholar Bowl, then you’ve earned a point. 

A standout amongst others, Scholar Bowl is a club where students work in teams to compete in trivia competitions. Question topics can range anywhere from literature, computational math and science. At meets, students compete in a 4 vs. 4 format and are asked a question in what is referred to as a “toss up”. If they know the answer, a student can hit the buzzer and answer the question for a point. If they are incorrect, the other team has a chance to answer.

In the beginning of Liberty’s history, the club was sponsored and started by Mr. Sacre but has since been taken on by english teacher Mr. Schaper.

“The way that he (Sacre) described it, it just seemed like a lot of fun,” Mr. Schaper said. “I just thought it was important to sponsor a club that was almost purely academically driven.” The academic drive is a special facet of the Scholar Bowl, along with the type of students that it appeals to. 

“It’s kind of a cool place for a lot of our really high achieving students that maybe aren’t as interested in other sports or clubs that are really good at school, they kind of have a chance to shine a little bit,” Mr. Schaper said. 

Two of those high achieving students are team captains senior Ben Ptasienski and junior Austin Beckerdite. Both have been involved in Scholar Bowl for their entire high school career. 

Having transferred from a different school his freshman year, Beckerdite found community in Scholar Bowl.

“I didn’t really know a whole lot of people and so it sounded kind of fun,” Beckerdite said. Ptasienski had a similar experience, joining in his freshman year as well after learning about the club from Mr. Schaper.

“A couple of my friends just decided to show up one day,” Ptasienski said. “Everybody is just a lot of fun to be around, it’s just a great environment.” The laid-back atmosphere of Scholar Bowl fosters the motivation of team members to better themselves in their knowledge of trivia and their love of the game.

“It’s educational but it’s also fun, a lot of clubs it’s like either you’re having fun or you’re just doing school stuff,” Beckerdite said. Scholar Bowl and the members of the Scholar Bowl are able to distinguish themselves from other clubs and activities of the school through their ability to truly enjoy the competition in a non-serious fashion. At the same time, they can hone their comprehension of a multitude of subjects mentioned in the questions, spanning anywhere from Greek philosophers to religious history.

“It’s just a place where a bunch of like-minded kids can get together and just have fun but at the same time, do what we like to do, which in this case is trivia,” Ptasienski said. “It’s not a super competitive thing we all just really like doing it.” 

While being able to learn new facts and compete in a relaxed manner, the greatest impact in Scholar Bowl can be found in the bond between the team. The inclusiveness of all grades and all types of people breaks down barriers that are commonly found between groups. 

“With Scholar Bowl I’ve noticed sophomores and freshmen getting along with seniors and you sort of have those relationships across grade levels being built and they really encourage each other to just do well in school, that’s kind of just the byproduct of the types of students that we tend to attract,” Mr. Schaper said. “It’s cool to see how they appreciate other disciplines to help balance out the team so that’s really valuable.”

As the Scholar Bowl team approaches their competition season, they look to improve on their standing amongst the St. Charles Scholar Bowl League, and hopefully move on to compete in districts. But most importantly, they continue to strengthen their bond and simply do what they love to do; a part of the trivia team that’s never been trivial.