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Norman North Students Compete in National Scholastic Competition

Could you name in which war Lord Cardigan led the charge of the Light Brigade? If you knew it was the Crimean War, you might just have made it past the first round in the PACE National Scholastic Championship.

That’s exactly what four Norman North students did last weekend, finishing in the top 25% of the “quizbowl” style event, where they went up against 95 other teams, representing 19 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and three foreign countries. Held in Reston, VA ,near the nation’s capital, 4-member student teams advanced by answering questions from a wide array of subjects including literature, science, history, fine arts, religion, social sciences, geography, and current events.

For two members of the team, Caleb Kendrick and Daniel Hayden, this was their last activity as a North Timberwolf, having graduated in May they will soon be heading off to college. The other two members of the team, Aniket Dehadrai and Kausik Velaga, just completed their freshman year at North, and hope to compete again as sophomores.

To reach the National Scholastic Competition, the team first had to qualify at a regional round. The Norman North team competed and was the St. Mark’s tournament champion as well as the NAQT state champion.

The team was led by their coach Alan Winters, a social studies teacher at Norman North High School. “These kids are remarkably bright and well-rounded with knowledge that extends outside of the classroom,” said Winters. “You can’t really practice for these kinds of questions – either you have a diverse intellect or you don’t.”

The tournament, in its 18th year, is sponsored by The Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence (PACE), which is a non-profit alliance that organizes high school quizbowl and related scholastic competitions. The questions they develop are not “trivia”, but rather come from “core disciplines of the academic canon and recent trends of intellectual or cultural significance” per the organization’s website.

Norman North Principal Dr. Peter Liesenfeld also attended the competition with the team. “I couldn’t be more proud of these students,” said Liesenfeld. “The questions they could answer impressed me at every turn, and they represented our school and community very well.”