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Tuskegee University showcases academic excellence in 33rd Honda Campus All-Star Challenge

March 24, 2022

Contact: Kawana McGough, Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing

Tuskegee University's Honda Campus All-Stars team
Tuskegee University's Honda Campus All-Stars team

Tuskegee University is marking its 32nd year in the upcoming Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC) National Championship Tournament. The HCASC quiz bowl is America's premier academic competition among HBCUs.

The annual event brings together more than 300 HBCU students, coaches, presidents, and institutional representatives for a tournament that uniquely combines educational and personal development experiences beyond the classroom. After advancing in the preliminary rounds of the HCASC National Championship Series, Tuskegee University is one of 16 teams that competed in the HCASC Playoffs on March 20 to advance to the HCASC National Championship Tournament, April 10-12.

Dr. Worth Hayes, an associate professor of history and director of assessment, has coached the university's quiz bowl team since 2015; he says this year's quiz bowl activities will remain virtual.

"This makes it difficult to recapture the dynamism that is quiz bowl. But it also required the players to be creative in the process and deepen their commitment to the program," explained Hayes.

The four-student scholar team includes team captain Olivia F. Cooper, a junior majoring in communications and media studies from Bloomfield, Connecticut, and team members: Ileecea C. Askew, a junior majoring in computer science from Birmingham; Joshua Ivan Johnson, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering from Bloomfield, NY and Joseph Rachal a junior majoring in economics and finance from Ridgeland, Mississippi.

Hayes says this is almost an entirely new team. "Three of the players have made it to the varsity team for the first time. Though the three new players have been with our quiz bowl club since their freshman year, now juniors, they have waited their turn as older players have graduated. They used that time to get better and prepare for this moment," he continued.

"We also have one player, Joseph Rachal, who has been a varsity player since freshman year. In his freshman year, he won the National Qualifying Tournament. However, the season was suspended a month later because of the pandemic. He has also used this time to become a better quiz bowl player," Hayes noted.

Under the leadership of Hayes, Tuskegee has won two Honda Campus All-Star Challenge championships resulting in almost thousands of dollars coming back to the university.

"We are proud of our students," said Dr. Charlotte P. Morris. "The team has continued its streak of winning competitions, further cementing Tuskegee University's excellence on the national stage."

Honda Campus All-Star Challenge is a year-round program celebrating Black excellence and showcasing the academic talents of top HBCU students from across the country. Four-student teams face off in head-to-head competition and must quickly answer questions about history, science, literature, religion, math, the arts, pop culture, and sports. HCASC challenges students to expand their scope of knowledge on a wide range of topics while also helping to develop their leadership and collaboration skills. With the opportunity to compete against students from other HBCUs, participants build camaraderie, gain mentorship opportunities with HCASC alumni, and make "friends for life."

"Honda applauds the students from Tuskegee University for their incredible dedication to preparing for HCASC," said Yvette Hunsicker, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility and Inclusion & Diversity at American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "For over 30 years, Honda Campus All-Star Challenge has brought together the best and brightest HBCU students for a celebration of academic excellence. We are excited to cheer on the students and crown the 2022 HCASC national champion."

Beyond the competition, Honda provides development seminars aimed at increasing career readiness and student empowerment. Students will learn interview tips, resume writing best practices, and ways to prepare for post-graduation success.

The virtual HCASC Playoffs featuring the top 16 teams will stream live at starting at 1:00 PM EDT on March 20. The Tuskegee team will compete to secure its spot in the HCASC National Championship Tournament, April 10-12, and vie for the top prize – a $75,000 institutional grant from Honda.

This year, Honda will provide nearly $400,000 in institutional grants to the participating HBCUs, with many of the schools utilizing the grants to fund student scholarships. More than 145,000 scholars have competed in HCASC since the academic tournament was established in 1989.

Honda and Historically Black Colleges and Universities:

For over 30 years, Honda has supported the success and dreams of Historically Black College and University (HBCU) students through initiatives including the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge and Honda Battle of the Bands. These programs provide unforgettable experiences and opportunities for HBCU students, including meeting and networking with peers from other HBCU schools. Honda has impacted the lives of more than 200,000 students and awarded over $14 million in grants in support of HBCU education programs and facilities improvements.

To advance its leading investment in HBCUs, Honda is a member of the HBCU Partnership Challenge, a Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus initiative that brings together government, industry, and HBCUs to create strategic, more sustainable HBCU partnerships. Honda also has partnered with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to provide annual scholarship funding to support HBCU students pursuing an education in engineering, supply chain management, and manufacturing-related fields.

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