LEESVILLE, La. - The Leesville High School Quiz Bowl team recently finished in first place at the 2019 Vernon Parish Quiz Bowl tournament Feb. 20 at the Leesville High School auditorium in Leesville, Louisiana.
Each high school in the parish competed in the tournament -- in which they were asked questions on a variety of subjects, including literature, art, history, math, science and more. In the end, the LHS team -- made up of primarily military-connected students from Fort Polk -- won the first-place trophy for their school.
Team members Jackson Gardner, 17, Zachary Colthirst, 16, and Sebastian Franco, 17 -- who are among the military students from Fort Polk on the LHS team -- expressed their excitement at winning the district Quiz Bowl.
"Winning feels great, but especially winning with people that I appreciate and am able to work together with in a positive environment," said Gardner, an LHS senior. "It also felt good to show the power of Leesville High School and the military kids that help represent it."
"It felt really great," added Colthirst, a junior at LHS. "We worked really hard throughout the year. We all really wanted to win."
Franco, an LHS junior, said achieving the triumph for their school was especially rewarding, as they came together at LHS from different backgrounds.
"It felt amazing," Franco said. "I'm from Germany and some of my friends are from North Carolina and Kansas. We just came from all over the world and collaborated and achieved such an amazing victory."
LHS Quiz Bowl Team Adviser Tammy Wilber said she was proud of the success of her students.
"It was just overwhelming and amazing to see them win," Wilber said. "I'm so proud of their dedication. I was so astonished to just see them come together as a team and do this."
Wilber said the team prepared by meeting at her classroom after school every Tuesday to practice buzzer speed times, answer questions and study the topics they weren't familiar with.
"I just love watching these kids interact together," Wilber said. "The friendship and bond this team have is nothing like I've ever seen."
This is Wilber's second year as LHS Quiz Bowl team adviser, and she said this is the first year with primarily military-connected team members.
"Given the fact that mostly my entire team was military, it was amazing what they took from learning all around the world," Wilber said. "They took all this knowledge and brought it together in this small town and won a big trophy and I'm just so proud of them."
Gardner, Colthirst and Franco were happy to represent their fellow military-connected students in Vernon Parish through their Quiz Bowl success.
"I thought it was great in the sense that it proves that no matter where you move or when you move, military kids are able to become a part of the school community that they are moving into," Gardner said. "We're able to become an important part of our school, play a good role, form strong team bonds, and make a large difference for our community and classmates."
"It feels really good because it reminds us that as rough as a military child's life can be moving constantly and being separated from friends and family, that you can still collaborate with these other people who are on the same boat as you to achieve these great things," Franco added.
All three students are motivating students to join the Quiz Bowl team.
"LHS Quiz Bowl is a great team to be in," Colthirst said. "You never know what you actually know until you come out and try it."
Wilber also hopes students will continue to be encouraged to participate in the LHS team.
"I'm hoping that other kids see that Quiz Bowl is a lot of fun," Wilber said. I hope they see the bond my kids have and feel like they want to be part of it as well."