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Scholastic Bowl finale puts societies’ brains to the test

Four society teams have entered the Scholastic Bowl semifinals. Bryan, Sigma Kappa Rho, Kappa Sigma Chi and Theta Mu Theta remain to battle for scholastic dominance.

Dr. John Matzko, chair of the Division of Social Science and organizer of the Scholastic Bow has prepared questions and seating since 1985.

“It has gone through changes [in] questions and subjects. Over time this has to happen, since students and what they know change,” Matzko said.

Dr. Bob Jones III proposed the Scholastic Bowl in 1984 as a competition for students at the end of the year. A variety of required activities lengthened commencement week. The Scholastic Bowl was one way to keep students occupied during this time.

“They had done different things before, like championship debate contests,” Matzko said. “Eventually, we came up with the idea for the Scholastic Bowl.”

Originally the competition was predominantly Bible questions. After a year it was modified to become more inclusive of general subjects.

“Since 1986 the game has been pretty standard,” Matzko said. “One hundred and fifty faculty members were asked to write 15 questions each in the area of their specialization. One hundred actually did. About half the questions they sent in were usable.”

Since then, the Bowl has gradually changed. Back in 1985 when the Bowl first originated, the game consisted of three rounds. Now, six rounds of questions are asked.   

Five and six are the semifinals and finals respectively. The Scholastic Bowl covers music, literature, geography, chemistry and history, including BJU history.

“One thing to note is that you can’t get too specific in any subject for the Bowl,” Matzko said. “The Bowl is meant for the average student here, so the questions naturally need to be on something that everyone has taken.”