Tuskegee University’s Honda Campus All-Star Challenge team is ready to compete in the nation’s premier academic quiz bowl. This year, more than 64 HBCUs will face off in this unique academic competition that showcases students’ knowledge of world history, science, literature, religion, the arts, social science and popular culture.
On Saturday, Feb. 8, Tuskegee’s team will compete in the National Qualifying Tournament at Atlanta’s Morehouse College. Leading up to the competition, students have participated in campus engagement activities, intramural play and qualifying tournaments. During the qualifying tournaments in Atlanta, students will participate in a fast-paced buzzer competition and battle in a modified round-robin format, with the final teams moving to the next round — the national championship tournament this March in Torrance, California.
Dr. Worth Hayes, an assistant professor in the Department of History and Political Science, has served as the team’s coach for four years. He said that it’s an honor for him to continue the tradition of success spanning three decades and beginning with former Dean of Students Peter Spears .
“Because of the foundation Dean Spears provided, Tuskegee is known as one of the top competitive teams in the program,” Hayes explained. “Our past includes winning two back-to-back championship titles — something no other team in the challenge has ever done.”
The tournament itself isn’t the only challenge facing the team this year. Hayes noted that this has been a rebuilding year for the team, since four of its members graduated during the 2018-19 academic year.
“We have a young team, so we’re trying to replenish our talent. But the students we have are still without a doubt sharp and very exuberant,” he noted.
Hayes explained that, in preparation for this spring’s round of tournaments, he tries to make learning fun for all players involved — adding that he’s even made up a few rap songs as part of the team’s learning strategy. Junior Kailah Trice of Atlanta, a sociology major who serves as this year’s team captain, said she enjoys Hayes’ inventive approaches preparing the team for its competitions.
“Our practice sessions are intense, but Dr. Hayes gets us excited about learning and gives us a new spin on how to retain information,” she said. “The biggest takeaway for me has always been the ability to apply my what I learn through our team practices to my coursework, and vice versa.”
Hayes also added that the students’ involvement with the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge is more than just an ongoing quiz bowl. He emphasized that it’s become a close-knit community of likeminded individuals who are intellectually curious about factual knowledge.
To help increase the team’s chances of qualifying for the National Championship, fans can vote for Tuskegee’s team at bit.ly/HBCUWinner2020 up to three times per day until Feb. 10. The top-three teams in the popular voting round will automatically advance, no matter how they place in the qualifying rounds.
Since 1989, Honda Campus All-Star Challenge, one of Honda’s longest-running philanthropic initiatives in the United States, has celebrated and recognized the academic talents of HBCU students. More than $9 million in grants from Honda have provided support for scholarships, facility upgrades and other investments to improve the HBCU student experience. For more information, visit www.hcasc.com.
© 2020, Tuskegee University