By Todd Travis
If you’re a regular viewer of the TV show “Jeopardy!”, you might want to look out for your local Center Grove High School teacher Jonathan Rogers. He applies to be on the show every year and hopes to get his big shot one day. In the meantime, he is the coach for the Center Grove Quiz Bowl Team, who are making a big push to strengthen their team for years to come.
“The biggest reason for my interest in this is just seeing these kids and the raucous fun they have, the joyous pursuit of knowledge and showing what they know in a trivia competition. It really does remind me of the 9 million viewers that watch ‘Jeopardy!’ every night,” Rogers commented.
“I’m a big fan of the show, I take the quiz to be on the show every year. I haven’t gotten that callback, but it’s just a good time. To see the strategy and gameplay and to see the kids grow through the years has been something I’ve really enjoyed in my five years at Center Grove,” Rogers continued.
Quiz Bowl works similar to “Jeopardy!” and requires team members to answer different trivia questions individually, and sometimes as a team. They have a buzzer system which allows the first contestant who presses their buzzer to be able to answer the question. The quicker someone answers a question, the more points they can score – but if they answer incorrectly, they can also lose points. The strategy can be complex as the students have to consider how quickly to buzz in, while not missing important information that is vital to answer correctly.
The Center Grove Quiz Bowl Team has a strong history filled with many achievements, including earning a $10,000 prize by winning the Westfield Insurance Brain Game Championship on WTHR (Channel 13) in 2009, winning the MIC Academic Challenge Championship in 2016, and winning the WRAL (White River Academic League) Division with an undefeated record of 7-0 this season.
“I think we have a team this year that is as good as we’ve had in my five years. They put in the consistent effort that is needed to compete at the highest level. We had a snow day, but the kids still wanted to practice so they got on Zoom and practiced that way. I tried to cancel practice to grade some papers or have a date with my lovely wife and they say, ‘We still want to practice’ and so my assistant coach will run practice,” Rogers said.
The team has been invited to compete this year in Atlanta in a national tournament and the players are ecstatic to have the opportunity. Unfortunately, the team has reached a point where the funds they need to compete at the highest level have dried up. The $10,000 prize they earned in 2009 has basically funded the team up to this point, but now they need to begin raising their own funds to continue functioning as an inclusive team with no dues paid by team members.
“Our goal is to raise $10,000. That will cover the $7,000 that we need to go to nationals and leave the remainder of the funds to keep the team going for at least a few years,” Rogers stated.
The $7,000 would cover the plane tickets to Atlanta, the lodging for the competitors and the entry fees for the tournament. Some of the remaining funds would help the team keep their technology up to date – the buzzer system they currently have could use updating to the tune of about $900. The money would also help pay regular tournament fees which are not covered by the school.
The team is asking for local businesses to sponsor the team and, in return, be featured on the team’s social media pages and on the team T-shirts that will be worn during the tournaments and likely around town as well. They are encouraging anyone interested to come and speak with the team members and answer any questions regarding the sponsorship. Checks for the donations should be made out to “CGHS – Academic Teams.”
To donate online, go to weblink.donorperfect.com/cgquizbowl
View the social media pages for the teams on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter @CGQuizBowl. They will begin marketing a new website on their social media soon:
For questions or more information, email Jonathan Rogers at email@example.com