Academic World Quest recap

The state competition for Academic World Quest took place on March 6-7 where Hellgate placed 6th and 7th in the state with a score of 70 and 72. 

Ryall Pham, a freshman at Hellgate and member of the team that got 7th, speaks on the experience and how he did. “ We did really well, we got 70 out of 100 points and placed 7th overall. I am proud and happy with how my team did and how the rest of Hellgate’s teams did at the competition.”

Academic World Quest is a quiz bowl-like competition that bases its questions on international affairs and comes from a study guide that is shared to each competitor at the beginning of the school year. At Hellgate, a tryout test is required to see what team you will be placed on and will work with from October until the competition in March. The meetings are mostly student led and are made up of 2 slideshows with questions surrounding a topic each week.

The competition period only lasts 2 hours and occurs at the end of the second day. The rest of the state competition includes meeting ambassadors, communicating with students from around the world and learning about what people in Montana are doing to help the rest of the international world. There were also games about global trade and a conversation with a Ukrainian citizen living through the war.  Ambassador meetings occurred mostly over zoom but had students meeting ambassadors from the US for countries such as Ireland, Ukraine, Canada and Sweden. The ambassadors talked about their role within the government, as well as their day to day duties as ambassadors. The talks all lasted about 2 to 3 hours and were highlighted by a lively Q and A session afterwards.

This year’s student-to-student conversation was with a high school located in Dublin Ireland. This was also in a Q and A format and had questions coming from both Worldquesters and Irish students alike. Questions such as the requirements of school uniforms, foods that are eaten and traditional customs were what stood out among the conversations. The reaffirmation of high school stereotypes found within American movies were also discussed by the Worldquesters to the Irish students. 

The global connection between Montana and the rest of the international community was also discussed and showcased by a presentation by a University of Montana professor and a dog trainer. The university professor discussed what his students were researching and undertaking within their PHD thesis. This included mounting small microchips onto bees to study where they travel and live throughout the year. A new way of surveying species populations using cameras was discussed and how that is being implemented worldwide. As the presentation concluded, the dog trainer began his discussion. The dog trainer trains dogs to detect parts of animals such as elephant ivory and rhino horns, in order to stop poaching in Africa. They are also trained to detect snares and ammunition rounds that would go undetected into wildlife parks. The dogs come from all over the United States, including places such as California and our home state of Montana. After discussing how he trains the dogs and what they do, a live demonstration about the dog’s capabilities was done. The dog was able to find the ammunition within 30 seconds and found all 3 of the rounds that were hidden throughout the room. 

While Academic Worldquest proved to be not as successful for Hellgate as hoped, the global discussions and intermingling with other students of the like minds allowed Hellgate students to become more globally aware and create long lasting friendships and bonds within their communities.