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Scholars Battle for Glory at MBMS Scholar Quiz

Jun 02, 2017 06:09PM ● By Jeanne Fratello

2017 MBMS Scholar Quiz winners. L-R: Alex Cortez, Jack Nathan, Michael Crisera, Tyler Chu

Scholarship reigns supreme at Manhattan Beach MIddle School, where the popular annual MBMS Scholar Quiz drew a total of 656 students and came down a nail-biting finish for the final four on Friday.

The winning team of Michael Crisera, Jack Nathan, Alex Cortez, and Tyler Chu claimed the 2017 title. They won with a hard-fought victory of 190-145 over the team of Owen Ramallo, Lauren Chiu, Michaela Webb, and Cash Cherry.

The scholar quiz, now in its thirteenth year, measures a team's knowledge of wide range of subjects, as well as team members' ability to think quickly on their feet. Two teams of four students compete head-to-head, with the right to answer a question going to the first student to raise his or her flag.

The first rounds of competition began last week with 164 four-person teams. Friday's final drew a large crowd in the multi-purpose room, with friends, family, runners-up, school board members, and community supporters - including representatives from quiz sponsor Study Hut - in attendance.

Questions covered topics ranging from art history to math, science, astronomy, history, social studies, chemistry, athletics, and board games. At times MBMS teacher and emcee Jed Rucker could barely get a question out before a flag went up and a student answered. (Rucker: "What is the name of the large structure -" [flags go up] - "that was sent to the U.S...." Michaela Webb: "The Statue of Liberty!")

The two final teams were so closely matched that they were tied at halftime, 75-75.

"I love the fact that these kids have such a diverse knowledge of facts," said Rucker after the tournament. He added that the quiz organizers deserved much of the credit for creating such a challenging and engaging program. "The committee that drafts the questions has done a phenomenal job," he said.

Cathey Graves, MBMS Scholar Quiz co-chair, noted that some other schools run a similar quiz but purchase the questions from an outside vendor, whereas the MBMS team writes all of their own material and ties it in to the curriculum. An observer from least one other local middle school was on hand to see the legendary MBMS quiz finals in person.

MBMS Principal Kim Linz noted that there has been a positive excitement in the halls throughout the competition, and she has appreciated watching students cheering for other students. "They are going out there, supporting their friends, and celebrating something scholarly," she said.

More than 200 parent volunteers lent their time and talents to the competition, which began on May 23.

(For DigMB articles about previous years' competitions, see Students Battle for Glory at MBMS Scholar Quiz and MBMS Students Face Off at 11th Annual Scholar Quiz.)

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