The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local News

February 16, 2013

Students find competitive outlet at Brain Bowl

Frankton is third after day of competition

ANDERSON, Ind. — The Academic Brain Bowl began in 2010 with just two teams.

Then, it was intended as a project simply to bring attention to the Purdue University College of Technology.

The fourth iteration of the event on Saturday featured 16 teams from eight schools and more than 100 student participants. Lafayette Harrison High School took home first place and Frankton High School came in third in the day-long competition held at the Flagship campus on Anderson’s southwest side.

Sheryl Thayer, the creator of the project, said she’s pleased to see how well-attended the event has become. She said she worked hard over the past year emailing and contacting schools around the state in an attempt to expand the competition.

“It’s a fun day for the kids and they come from all over the area,” Thayer said. “Our whole objective is to get local schools to realize Purdue University is here for them in Anderson.”

Each school featured teams comprised mostly of high school juniors and seniors. The teams matched up in one-on-one games designed to test knowledge in a bracket-style tournament.

Ryan Malott, 17, of Mississinewa High School, said the atmosphere was very comfortable for the students, all of whom are strong academically.

“We’re surrounded by our kind, and by that I mean nerds,” Malott said jokingly.

Like most of the competitors, Malott said his team has participated in a number of similar academic challenges throughout the school year, so he has built strong camaraderie with his them. He said the biggest challenge with each tournament is adjusting to different rules.

Corey Sharp, Director of the College of Technology, said the event is especially constructive for the students and gives them a competitive outlet.

“We allow kids to compete athletically and other ways in school, so I think it’s important to give them an outlet to compete academically,” Sharp said. “They’re testing their knowledge, and it’ll prepare them because they’ll be tested when they move on to college.

Annie Gates, 15 and a member of Frankton’s JV team, said she enjoyed the challenge of her first opportunity to compete in the event.

“I plan to play for our team for the rest of my high school career and I plan to eventually be varsity captain,” Gates said.

Lorri Barnett, one of the directors of the event, said she’s hopeful the Brain Bowl will keep growing in coming years.

“We’re getting a lot better at running it every year,” Barnett said. “We’ve had to rent more space to accommodate more schools, so we’re excited with the result. We’d love to keep growing it to maybe a regional competition that even more schools can compete in.”

Find Jack Molitor on Facebook and @AggieJack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.

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