The student news site of Clark Magnet High School

Clark Chronicle

The student news site of Clark Magnet High School

Clark Chronicle

The student news site of Clark Magnet High School

Clark Chronicle

Clark’s great success in the 34th annual GUSD Scholastic Bowl

Shaza Abdoush
Advisors Mr. Mikayelyan and Mr. Eisenstien next to the successful Clark Scholastic Bowl team (Robert King, Julie Abdou, Nicolas Dermardirosian, Luke Scherrer, and Jad Abdoush).

Who is the Transcendentalist author who spent two years at Walden Pond? What about the former colonial occupier of Chad who successfully repelled Libyan forces from N’Djamena? These are just a glimpse into the challenging questions that high schoolers have to answer in competitive trivia, otherwise known as the Scholastic Bowl. On March 4th, five students from Clark—Robert King, Julie Abdou, Nicolas Dermardirosian, Luke Scherrer, and Jad Abdoush—faced this challenge head-on against three other high schools to test their knowledge (and how quickly they can hit a buzzer). 

This intense battle of the brains involves questions covering subjects such as fine arts, language arts, mathematics, science, and social science. The competing schools—Clark Magnet High School, Crescenta Valley High School, Glendale High School, and Hoover High School—each had a team of five students who specialized in one or more of these topics. Of course, gaining such a breadth of knowledge on one subject was no easy feat. 

Junior Julie Abdou, who was one of the five students representing Clark at the Scholastic Bowl, was put in charge of the language arts category. She says that along with practicing buzzer rounds with the team two to three times a week during enrichment, she would also spend about two hours a week deeply studying the subject on her own time. “I just memorized a ton of authors and which books they’ve written, and I try to learn the plots of those books,” said Julie. The team as a whole went over a plethora of practice questions with the help of their advisors, Mr. Mikayelyan and Mr. Eisenstien.

Junior Nicolas Dermardirosian, who focused on the social science and fine arts categories, also had extensive practice. “We also met up outside of school…one weekend, we met up twice for seven hours each day, and we were just answering all types of practice questions about all different kinds of topics,” said Nicolas. “Then there’s also the essays; we did a few essays in preparation where we would be timed only an hour to do the entire thing. You get the prompt, and then you just have to write it.” 

The essay contest, though seemingly out of place, is another big part of the Scholastic Bowl. As Nicolas said, competitors are given the same random essay topic (though it’s usually about politics) and have one hour to write the entire essay. As stressful as it sounds (and Julie claims that the team felt pretty unconfident about this portion of the competition), Clark came out on top and ended up winning the essay contest. “[The judge] said our essays were ‘magical,’” said Julie. This is the first time since Clark’s initial participation in the Scholastic Bowl that they have won this contest.

As for the quizzing, Clark was going strong with an early lead from the essay contest. However, they were up against tough competition. The three other schools each had numerous wins under their belts from past competitions, while Clark hadn’t won since 2016; it was clear that Clark was the underdog. “It was really nerve wracking being in front of everyone, and the competition was really hard,” said Julie. People were clicking the buzzer before the question was read out loud, and I didn’t know what to do.” Reflexes appeared to be an unforeseen challenge for the competitors, and despite Clark losing their first-place spot to Crescenta Valley, they held onto their position and ultimately ended in a very respectable second. “Despite everything, we did a lot of practice, and I think it paid off,” said Nicolas.

The point totals are as follows: Crescenta Valley with 94 points, Clark with 73, Hoover with 53, and Glendale with 50. After scoring in the lower half these past few Scholastic Bowls, Clark’s second-place finish is hopefully the start of an upward trend for Clark’s incredible students.


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About the Contributor
Samantha Talbot
Samantha Talbot, Staff Writer
Interests/Hobbies? Drawing, Playing video games, Writing Poetry, Running Dream Destination? Italy (Rome, Florence, Venice...) and France Something I'd tell my 10 year old self: Get ready for 8th grade; It won't just be "2 more weeks" of spring break Favorite Genre: Novels -> Mystery/Gothic Music -> Alternative/Indie What piece of text do you like to read the most? Edgar Allen Poe (literally ANYTHING he has written)

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