Bold bet clinches K-Bowl crown

Friday Harbor High School
Friday Harbor High School's 9th & 10th team celebrate after winning the 19th annual Knowledge Bowl in the final round, March 7 at San Juan Community Theatre.
— image credit: Scott Rasmussen
— (Editor's note: the article has been corrected to note a correct response and 5-point bet by the Soroptimists in the final round)

Friday Harbor High School’s 9th and 10th grade team backed up its bravado by capturing the coveted Knowledge Bowl crown for the second year in a row.

But it took a bold move and a hefty bet with the game on the line.

“I wanted to bet 39 and Dalton (Ayers) thought we should do 35,” said Max Haenel, who helped the 9th and 10th graders claim the K-Bowl championship in his freshman year. “So we kinda went back and forth from there and finally decided on something in-between, 37.”

After fielding 40 tough trivia-like questions under the bright lights of the main stage of San Juan Community Theatre, host of San Juan Public Schools Foundation’s annual fundraising event, No. 19 and counting, the score was dead even, with the two top teams, the sophomores and freshmen, and the juniors and seniors, tied at 40 points apiece.

And then there were the Soroptimists, with 37 points, nipping at their heels.

Furnished by the folks at the Friday Harbor branch of Islanders Bank, founded in 1981, the final question, the tie-breaker, involved math, “basic math”, as described by the event’s veteran emcee, Brent Snow, a member of the San Juan Island School District’s board of directors. It went something like this: “How many triangles can be made out of three straight objects of unequal length?”

Answer: one.

Taking a conservative tack, the four-person team of upperclassman came up with the correct answer, as did the 9th and 10th grade team, but bet only three points. While the Soroptimists (fell out of contention by betting only five points), the Rotary Club also answered the question correctly and catapulted into second place by betting all 23 of its points.

Though the trivia competition is the headliner of the annual Knowledge Bowl, it is, at heart and soul, a fundraising event, the biggest of the year for the Public Schools Foundation. At the outset of the March 7 event, the foundation presented its customary “big check” to school Superintendent Rick Thompsen, a total of $60,587 in donations.

According to the Foundation’s Nancy Young, with this year’s installment the group has nearly reached its goal of raising $1 million to help supplement the school district and its spending on education. It has raised roughly $987,000 to date.


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