Trivia Fuels Academic Pursuit for Agnes Scott Student

Monday, March 1, 2010

A two-time winner of the high school team trivia television show “Knowledge Bowl” Anna Cabe ’13 received a hefty scholarship to pursue her academic endeavors at Agnes Scott College.
“At the end of my Knowledge Bowl career, I had about $10,500 for school,” said Cabe, who was part of the winning team during her junior year and the second–place team her senior year at St. Benedicts High School in Memphis, Tenn.

“In popular culture, there’s this weird portrayal of academic teams, but they’re really just a lot of fun,” Cabe said. “Sometimes you get money for it, sometimes not. Even if you don’t get money you still get the satisfaction of knowing that you’re intelligent or at least that you have an amazing capacity to remember things.”

High schools around the country compete in these regional contests of academic trivia, which are sometimes known as Quiz Bowls. In the Memphis area, the selection process is as much of a competition as the tournaments. The teams’ coaches give interested students a written exam as well as what Cabe refers to as a “buzzer trial.” Students often start out by playing on the “B team,” attending non-televised tournaments, and work their way up to the six-member “A team” that competes in television matches.

“It can be very competitive, it’s based on facts and it also involves some interesting guesswork,” said Cabe. “The earlier you can buzz in accurately, the better chance you have of preventing the other team from buzzing in, so you have to pick up on clues too.”

To prepare, the coaches drill students on previous quiz show questions as well as play host to workshops in areas such as math or art to increase the team’s knowledge base in key areas. Current events figure prominently into the game during the show’s “Lightening Round” and for that Cabe and her teammates read local newspapers and quizzed each other about facts learned there.

“It was a valuable experience to me. Before I did Knowledge Bowl, I didn’t really realize how much I had to learn,” Cabe said—music to any college professor’s ears.

The host once asked Cabe where she hoped to attend college and the young trivia star named Agnes Scott as one of her top two choices. Now, as a first-year student at the college, she misses Knowledge Bowl, but she put her experience to good use as this year’s Black Cat trivia chair.

She is considering an English major and political science minor, but knows she has time to decide.

“Knowledge Bowl was a very interesting phase of my life and I’m glad I’m still able to do some trivia things,” Cabe said, “but I think it’s kind of a good time [at Agnes Scott] to just sort of test the waters and I’m glad that I have the confidence to do that.”

Agnes Scott College educates women to think deeply, live honorably and engage the intellectual and social challenges of their times. Students are drawn to Agnes Scott by its excellent academic reputation, exceptional faculty and metropolitan Atlanta location—offering myriad social, cultural and experiential learning opportunities. This highly selective liberal arts college is known for its diverse and dynamic intellectual community. Through SUMMIT, it provides every student, regardless of major, with an individualized course of study and co-curricular experiences that develop leadership abilities and understanding of complex global dynamics.