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Brainiacs battle for championship and literacy at 2013 Knowledge Bowl (video)

By BY CATY HIRST - CHIRST@VICAD.COM
Feb. 15, 2013 at 10 p.m.
Updated Feb. 15, 2013 at 8:16 p.m.

Dana Dworaczyk,left, Chad Flisowski, center, and Jim Ward participate in the Knowledge Bowl, held in the Victoria College Student Center. Their team, Wild Ones, won last year's competition for the adult division.

To help

• Visit victorialiteracycouncil. org/html/support.html or call 361-582-4273 to donate to the Victoria Adult Literacy Council.

The winners

Adult Division

1 Titan Warriors

2 The Plank Walkers

3 Wise Ones

Student Division

  1. Titan Debate 1, students from Victoria East High School
  2. Starships, students from St. Joseph High School
  3. Blue Albatrosses, students from Sacred Heart Catholic School

They are all high school educators - teaching math, English, history and social studies.

They all have their own area of expertise from pop culture and teacup poodles to calculus.

Wise Ones, defending champions in Friday's annual Knowledge Bowl, hoped that would be enough to win it again.

"It is just like playing Jeopardy. You can look like a hero one day and an idiot the next - it depends on who wrote the questions," joked Casey Crowder, principal of Hope High School in Port Lavaca.

This year, however, Titan Warriors were the heroes in the adult division, with Wise Ones coming in third.

"We watched lots of Jeopardy. We like showing off our knowledge. We had fun and had a good time for a great cause," said Patrick Hubbell, team captain of the Titan Warriors.

Presented by the Rotary Clubs of Victoria and benefiting the Victoria Adult Literacy Council, the competitors, in teams of four, had to answer 150 questions from history, pop culture, science, math and some from seemingly random categories.

The Wise Ones, like most of the 35 teams, didn't study, because there doesn't seem to be a way to prepare.

"The first year, there were a bunch of naval questions, so the next year, we were all teachers at Calhoun High School. So one of our fellow teachers was a Naval Academy grad, so we asked him to join. And they did not ask a single naval history question the next year," Crowder said, shaking his head.

Drew Westfahl, the teacher organizing the St. Joseph High School teams, said he remembers winning the competition when he was a senior at St. Joseph in 2004.

Westfahl said this year's St. Joseph teams, including We Are Smarticus, who won in the high school division last year, did not practice.

"I think it is about being aware of current events. For students, part of it is how attentive you are in class. It is about being well read in just about everything," Westfahl said.

He said the school brings the students to have fun and to support the Victoria Adult Literacy Council.

Eden Casal, program assistant with the literacy council, said it hopes to raise more than $3,000 at the event.

Jim Ward, on team Wise Ones, said he will continue to participate in the years to come, always hoping to win again. The Wise Ones have come in third place two times, fifth, ninth and first.

"This is a fun thing. I would encourage everyone to be a part of it," Ward said. "It is good for Rotary. It is good for the literacy council. It is good for the community. It is just good for everyone because you have to think."

Sonny Long contributed to this story.

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