Borger takes 2nd in Science Bowl

Instructors Amber Reed and Kara Thompson, students:  Addison Hook, Whitney Smith, Jaiden Keranen, Grace Hipolito, Lars Nelson, Canaan Manning, Mackenzie Elliot, Katherine Davis, Michael Karlin and Alex Onsurez. (Courtesy Photo)
Alex Mann
Managing Editor

Borger students returned from West Texas University on Friday having just missed the first place position in the Pantex Science Bowl. Even so, students were ecstatic to have represented their school so well in a competition of over 40 teams. Though the competition helps students learn advanced concepts and theories while still in high school, the format of the competition is aimed at making the whole experience fun and competitive for those involved.

“The Science Bowl is a competition that Pantex started several years ago,” Amber Reed with Borger High School explains, “40 teams from around the area will compete in two teams of four. They'll answer questions in math and science topics; it's kind of like a quiz bowl. They ask a question and students buzz in with their answer. Whichever team answers first gets the point.” Though the format may be reminiscent of a game show, Reed explains that the subjects themselves were college level theories aimed at challenging students. “Academically, some of the questions were college level. Some of the professors at West Texas and students mentioned how difficult they were. They were getting much higher education just by studying.” She says, “The categories include things like chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, algebra, and then there was an energy category which was new this year. We've been preparing for about two months by practicing two days a week for an hour after school. We break it up into categories and take topics. Each student has their strengths, which helped us put the teams together.”

Just as students were challenged to learn the material, they were also tasked with recalling and offering accurate answers at blistering speeds. Though this method of offering information is drastically different than what students normally give in written tests, Reed feels that each has its own merits. “I feel like they're stressful to students in different ways. I know some students seem a little more comfortable testing on paper... then some seem like they did better under the pressure of having to answer quickly in a competition style environment.” At the end of the day, students receive an advanced crash course in difficult concepts that they may not have gotten in their high school classes, and even though Borger's teams may have missed the top spot, they were still proud to have done so well in such a challenging environment. “They were still extremely excited.” Reed says, “Of course missing that top spot means they didn't get to go to Washington D.C. since the first place team got an all expense paid trip... so that was hard, but they we're still extremely proud of their accomplishment and achievement. They were so excited to get back and tell the school how they did, because we'd never even gotten to the top 16 before. Next year we've talked about expanding our training time a bit longer, and focusing on some of the categories we could have done better on.”