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COLUMNIST: Brawn and brains

What is the capital of Mongolia?

Of Pakistan.

Tibet? Philippines?

Can you name them?

These were a few of the tough questions asked on the television program "High School Challenge" on Channel 11, based in Fargo.

Not being an avid TV-watcher, it was a pleasant surprise to accidentally tune in Saturday night, Feb. 27, to see a team of Perham High School Yellowjackets competing in the "Knowledge Bowl"-format question-answer program.

Their opponent: Moorhead High School.

I'm pleased to report that the Yellowjackets were the winners, by a score of 305-265.

There tends to be an assumption that "the bigger the school, the smarter the kids." We know that isn't accurate. Still, one could theorize that a school with enrollment at least three times the enrollment would have a larger pool of talent, and therefore the "best and the brightest" might be better and brighter than the top students from a smaller pool of talent.

In any event, Perham once again lived up to its moniker "School of Champions" by defeating students from our larger neighbor to the west. In the first round, Perham defeated Fargo South, also a large school. The season will continue, with another televised match involving the Perham team expected in April.

Among the questions and answers were:

--The title of Beethovan's only opera (Fidelio).

--The body of Republicans and Democrats that is formed to negotiate a compromise on legislation (conference committee).

--The Russian aviator who immigrated to the U.S. and helped invent the helicoptor (Sakorsky).

--The name of the body of water east of Korea (Sea of Japan).

--The name of the Serbian underground organization responsible for the assassination that lead to the First World War (Black Hand).

On the team are Perham seniors Jordan Berns, John Coleman, and Jesse Obright; and juniors Andrew Riestenberg and Kaitlyn Young.

The school's competitive "Knowledge Bowl" program was eliminated, a victim of budget cuts. But we should note that biology teacher Susan Tostenson volunteered to coach the students for the "High School Challenge."

Note: The answer to the capital city questions: Pakistan, Islamabad; Tibet, Lhasa; Philippines, Manila; and Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar.

Congrats to gymnastics team, area wrestlers

Once again, the celebrated Perham gymnastics team came home with the gold.

Read about the squad's exploits elsewhere in this edition.

We also have four wrestlers from Perham going to the state meet this weekend; and five from New York Mills.