Trivial Pursuit

Knowledge Bowl team quizzes to success

Sarah Claire Miller and Abigail Penfield, Staff Writers

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Nothing is too trivial for the Center Hill High School Knowledge Bowl team.

“It’s kind of like ‘Jeopardy’ but with high schoolers,” senior Grace Eskridge said. “There’s questions about anything from math to Human A&P to celebrities.”

Eskridge was an alternate on the team that participated in a competition sponsored by WREG Channel 3 and hosted by Jim Jaggers. According to, the Knowledge Bowl is the station’s most successful local program and has awarded nearly $4 million in scholarships since 1987.

“I love going to competitions because it’s rewarding when you know the answer to a question,” Eskridge said. “The club is especially fun because of the other people in there and Mrs. Burgess and Mrs. Denham.”

Knowledge Bowl is co-sponsored by Jessica Burgess and Jennifer Denham. They meet with students to practice twice a week before school.

“We have been getting together every Tuesday and Thursday for four years now,” Burgess said. “Usually we have very relaxed practices where we just enjoy getting together as a group and blowing off steam while quizzing each other. This is a very hard competition to prepare for. Preparation comes from years of education in and out of the classroom. I just help them learn formats, gain confidence in their answers and prep them for being on TV. They are so smart!”

Burgess said that the team’s recent success is a far cry from their first trivia contest.

“When we first competed on the WREG Channel 3 Knowledge Bowl competition, we got creamed,” she said.

Earlier this month, Center Hill defeated Lausanne Collegiate School of Memphis, Burgess said.

“I was so proud of the team for beating Lausanne,” she said. “After four years of coaching them, it was amazing! It slowly dawned on me throughout the last portion of the competition that not only were we pulling ahead, we were staying ahead. It was so hard to keep my composure in the studios at the very end. The look of astonishment on the team’s faces was the best part of it, and something I will remember for years to come. Lausanne has always been a Knowledge Bowl powerhouse, and in fact, they tied for first two years ago.”

William Wright, who competed in the WREG competition along with his brother Jacob Wright, Mary Lindsey and Randi Terry, described the win as euphoric.

“I was on cloud nine,” he said. “All of our work has gone towards this. We’re all seniors, and we’ve been striving for this for four years for some of us. To have all of that practice and hard work come together and beat the reigning champion Lausanne the way we did was an absolutely perfect moment. I’m so proud of this group and what we’ve accomplished this season and hope we can continue this success.”

Burgess said each WREG team member won a $500 scholarship to the University of Memphis through this competition. The team will also compete at the University of Mississippi Academic Invitational Tournament and at the DeSoto County competition in February.