Quiz Bowl, Students Compete on Trivia


Diego Rivera

Four students sit on the same side of a table, hovering their hands over a buzzer. Another set of four students sits opposite to them, mimicking the same action. An announcer stands over to the side, reading from a list of questions with topics ranging from Finnish composers to iconic movie quotes. The announcer eyes the competitors and opens his mouth to say the last question. Junior Pranisha Karuturi, Tompkins’ Quiz Bowl founder and co-president, slams her hand on the buzzer, projects her voice confidently, and answers the question correctly. A scorekeeper jots down an additional ten points, keeping Tompkins in the lead. As the match nears an end, the scorekeeper reveals the final results: Tompkins is triumphant.

“My goal this year is getting at the top of the charts in district, knowing everyone who joins and having a great time,” Karuturi said.

Before her arrival at Tompkins, Karuturi attended the Quiz Bowl at her school in California. Realizing that Tompkins was a new school, she decided to introduce Quiz Bowl to the students. The club still welcomes new members, many being freshmen and sophomores.

“As I got known for Quiz Bowl and saw how it helped students learn about different topics, I realized that it would be a great club to establish in this school. Everyone in Katy ISD had a Quiz Bowl, so I founded it here,” Karuturi said.

Unlike other non-academic clubs which simply teach information, Quiz Bowl is competition-oriented. Questions asked at competitions may cover subjects taught in school, and some questions may relate to other topics outside of the curriculum.

“Every meeting, we have a mock competition to see how people are doing to make ourselves better at each competition,” Karuturi said. “When you’re face to face with another competitor, it sparks your passion and your competitive spirit.”

Sponsor Monica Birtwistle, AP World History and AP European History teacher, gives the team a place to rehearse and provides helpful tools like technology. Although Tompkins’ Quiz Bowl is entering its second year, this year will be Birtwistle’s first year of sponsorship. As a trivia enthusiast herself, Birtwistle is part of the Houston Trivia League which competes at the national level.

“I play a lot of trivia, and I like that rapid-fire questioning. I think it’s interesting to see the kids try to take a lot of knowledge and try to compete on a level of who knows the most,” Birtwistle said.

Junior Madeline Langan has been in the club for two years. As the historian, she says that Quiz Bowl competitions can give a person character traits in the classroom like being hard-working, participating, and knowledgeable. Her competitive spirit drew her to join the club, and she enjoys the experience of being a part of a team.

“People should join Quiz Bowl because it’s fun and helps you in your classes,” Langan said. “It’s also fun to be a part of a team. The knowledge is actually useful; it looks good on college applications too. Also, we get free pizzas at competitions.”

Other major members of the club include senior Akhila Venuturupalli, the co-president, and junior Bianca Chen, the treasurer. As of now, the club has a vice president position open and is welcoming members who wish to join. New members can expect a competitive environment and possibly a second family in the making with members of the club.

“You just have a great sense of community,” Karuturi said. “Everyone has each other’s numbers; everyone talks to each other even if there’s no meeting. There’s a great sense of family because of making groups and going to competitions.”