Tuskegee University student competes in black college quiz show



TUSKEGEE, Ala. (January 30, 2012) — Tuskegee University made its first appearance in the “Know Your Heritage Black College Quiz” show. Gabriel Smith, a junior studying history, represented the university in the sixth year of this televised competition that was taped at Howard University in Washington, D.C., in December. He faced students from 11 other universities for prizes that included a $5,000 scholarship.

 Gabriel Smith competes in the black college quiz show.
“I just wanted to represent well,” Smith said about being chosen to compete for the university.

Smith has been a fan of the show, “Jeopardy” since he was 8 years old, but did not see himself participating in this type of trivia game beyond the comfort of his home. Smith, a native of Mobile, Ala., was an athlete who had an interest in his high school’s quiz team, but never joined.

“I actually thought I wasn’t smart enough to be on the quiz bowl team,” Smith said.

When he came to Tuskegee, he decided to satisfy his interest while having some fun. He joined the university’s quiz bowl team and is now in his second year as a member of the varsity team. His specialty categories are history, black history, sports and current events.

“I’ve always been fascinated by history,” he said.

The “Know Your Heritage Black College Quiz” show’s questions focus on blacks’ contributions to art, business, education, politics, media, music, sports, science and technology. Unlike previous shows, the format changed from teams to individual competition this year. Without a team, Smith said he felt more pressure and had to adjust his style.

“It was a slower pace. I had to be more patient,” Smith said.

Tuskegee quiz team coach and dean of students Peter Spears said he chose Smith to represent the university because he had proven himself as a strong competitor in previous events and made improvements.

“He has a willingness to push himself. He did not back down,” Spears said. “He welcomed the competition.”

The quiz show can be seen on ABC affiliate WNCF (Montgomery, Ala.; Tuskegee University Campus Channel 10) on Feb. 5 at 2 p.m., Feb. 12 at 1:30 p.m. and Feb. 26 at 3 p.m. The quiz is a four-part show and the winner will be named during the Feb. 26 airing. All times are Central Daylight Time.

Although he is excited about seeing the show, Smith has no special viewing plans other than telling family and friends to tune in to see him.

“I hope that all of TU will watch it, too,” he said.

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