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If knowledge is power, these students are mighty

Perham High School's Knowledge Bowl team finished up their season with their last meet on February 2nd. Front: Audrey Swanson, Terell Bellanger 2nd Row: Morgan Hanson, Sam Pary, Sierra Edvall, Grace Tangen, Alisha Rosen, Catalina Rameriz, Hope Rosen, Gage Grunst 3rd Row: Madi Ebeling, Madelyn Tangen, Maya Roe, Faith Blonski, Nolan Wade, Peter Benson, Keith Nordick, Brayden LaFromboise, Max Priebe, Casey Mulchay, Zack Baker. Not Pictured: Miles Femling (submitted photo).

One light flashes every 12 seconds, another at 18 seconds, and another every minute. At 8:30, the three flashed simultaneously. When, in the next five minutes, will they again flash simultaneously?

Can you answer that in the next 15 seconds? Without help from Google, Alexa or Siri. If you can on brain power alone, then maybe you are Knowledge Bowl material.

Perham High school Knowledge Bowl team advisor Shawn Stafki said it's fun to watch his group in action, and he's amazed sometimes at what the kids know and how fast they can come up with answers in the brief amount of time they are given to answer questions.

"They get these math problems they will have to work out the answer to, and you think there is no way they are going to get that, but then they do," he said. "It's pretty incredible to see."

Knowledge bowl is a competition where teams of five people take a written test to determine their placement and where they start in the competition. The teams are grouped in rooms with the top three teams playing against each other, then the next three play against each other and all the way the down line depending on how many teams are at the competition. After each round the scores are added up and the rooms are shuffled. If a teams does well, it can move up. If it does poorly, it can move down. At the end of the day, whichever team has the most points wins.

Stafki said since the questions are completely random and can include anything from pop culture to calculus, it's important to have a well-rounded team with a good mix of knowledge.

Junior Gage Grunst has been a part of the team since he was a freshman and said his favorite category is science because he does well in that area.

"I enjoy the trivia aspect of knowledge bowl," he said. "My favorite part is the competition and the intensity of it."

Stafki has been the advisor for three years, and he enjoys seeing the camaraderie among the students.

"They laugh and have a lot of fun, and this is a great outlet for those kids who have that kind of interest in ideas and facts. We have a good mix of kids with a variety of backgrounds and interests."

He said it's not typical to have such a large group.

"When we started two years ago, we barely had enough to put together two teams.Then we lost some because they were seniors, and this year they came out of the woodwork," Stafki said.

Every once in a while he's taken over a buzzer and taken on the students.

"They've never beat me," he said with a laugh.

He's also had teachers take on students, and the teachers won just once. But, he said with a knowing grin, the kids know how the game is played. "You buzz in when you know the question, not when you know the answer."

And speaking of answers, it's 8:33.