The school foundation celebrates 25 years of knowledge

Islanders gathered together in the San Juan Community Theatre March 4, to learn, laugh and support the San Juan Island School District for the 25th annual Knowledge Bowl.

“Over the last 25 years, the San Juan Island Public School Foundation has raised a million and a half dollars,” emcee Brent Snow announced. “The money raised tonight adds to that.”

The San Juan Island Public School Foundation, a nonprofit whose mission is to supplement school funding on San Juan Island, sponsored the event.

The school foundation raises funds primarily through its annual telethon, fees for being included in a directory it publishes advertising business sponsors, as well as money brought in through the Knowledge Bowl itself. The funds go toward library books, science technology engineering and math programs, as well as toward the arts like painting supplies and band equipment.

The Friday Harbor High School Jazz band director Cart Nelsen thank the school foundation for money to help acquire instruments as well as toward repairs. The band provided additional entertainment during the event. Andy Anderson, whose daughter Ana Anderson won the 37th annual Congressional Art Competition last year, spoke about the importance of art.

Knowledge Bowl is a competition to see who has the most knowledge that pits four service clubs, Soroptimist International of Friday Harbor, Rotary of San Juan Island, Kiwanis of Friday Harbor and the San Juan Lions, against four student teams, eighth graders, ninth- and 10th-graders, 11th-and 12-graders and Spring Street International.

Each team was made up of four people:

Eighth grade: Colbey Border, Marcia King, Zach Place and Islay Ross.

Ninth- and 10th-grade: Tyler Flemming, Emma Mughal, Joshua Mellinger and Robin Taylor.

11th- and 12th-grade: Lucy Urbach, Tory Polda, Aidan Shannon and Justin Ha.

Spring Street International School: Addi Kessler, Leah Black, Cyrus Fronting and Ula Grace.

Soroptimist: Patty Brightman, Barbara Sharp, Necia Quast and Laura Jo Severson.

Lions: Jon Zerby; Shela Martin, Bruce Martin and Bill Waxman.

Kiwanis: Brandon Cadwell, Nancy Fusar, Beth Eden and Lowell Jons.

Rotary: Adam Eltinge, Bob Jarman, Chris Compton and Pete Rose.

Questions ranged from pop culture questions — like, which album won the Grammy for 2019? “Sweetener” by Ariana Grande; and what was the fictional African country in Black Panther? Wakanda. Teams were given bonus points if they could give the Wakanda salute. There were also science questions — what is the symbol for silver? AG; and what is the name of the atmospheric layer closest to Earth? Troposphere. One geography question was a bit of a trick, it asked, what is the largest island on Earth?

“Australia does not count because that’s a continent,” Snow said. The correct answer was Greenland.

The literature category consisted of questions such as, In George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” what animal was the character Boxer? Boxer was a horse.

There were also history questions, like what year did Mount St Helens erupt? 1980. Teams that also provided the correct day — May 18 — were given extra points. Nearly all teams got the correct day, however, two did not get the correct year. Another historical question was what document begins with the line “When in the course of Human Events?” That important U.S. document is the Declaration of Independence.

For the final question, teams were asked to place bets by writing down the number of points they would get should they answer the final question correctly, or lose if they got it wrong.

“This is a word category,” Snow said. “It isn’t even an English category — it’s a word one.”

After all of the teams wrote down their bet, he read, “How many words are in the word therein?”

The question was not an anagram, instead, teams were not allowed to move the letters around, and if they did not get all the words, they only got half of the points.

The answer was nine, there are nine words in “therein”: the, there, here, herein, her, he, rein, ere, in. The Kiwanis had 34 points until that point, and bet all or nothing giving them the final winning score of 68 points. The 11th- and 12th-graders were not far behind, also betting all or nothing, with a final score of 66 points.

“This is a good cause,” Snow said thanking attendees, “It’s for a great school.”