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NSU Quiz Teams Travels To Los Angeles For National Contest

(NSU NEWSROOM--April 11, 2014)--Four Norfolk State University students are en route to Los Angeles today to compete in the national Honda Campus All Stars Tournament.

Students Alvin McCloud, Derrick Thompson, Derek Smith and John Ellis, along with NSU assistant history professor Gwendolyn Epps Pharr, traveled to Hollywood to compete against 47 other colleges and universities in the national tournament that will be held from April 12-16.

For most the academic year, the team has practiced several times a week at the University by tackling trivia questions, reading about history, literature, pop culture and other subjects. The team is working to earn the distinction of being the nation’s best HBCU academic quiz team and also bringing back a $50,000 grant to Norfolk State.

In advance of their trip, the members participated in a Q&A with the NSU Newsroom and talked about their preparation for the contest.

Q: What do you think it will take to win?

A: We all have a will to win and we are versatile. On our team we have a biology major, a computer science major and two history majors. We’ve got every avenue covered when it comes to academia. We have chemistry and we all genuinely like each other. We believe in our team and plan to do well because we have prepared. ---Alvin McCloud, 36, Brooklyn, N.Y., history major.

Q: How often does the team practice?

A: We’ve practiced at least three days a week since last semester. Overall, I think we’ve probably practiced for more than 300 hours. We text message each other questions and watch trivia programs like Jeopardy and talk about the results. I have been on the team four years and I think it is our best team. After the qualifying tournament, we had it in our hearts that we want to win for Norfolk State. We are ready. ----John Ellis, 21, Windsor, Conn., computer science major and NSU quiz team captain.

Q: What do you think it will be like to compete against teams from other universities?

A: It will be exciting, yet challenging. I’m interested to see where our skill level matches with other teams. I feel blessed to be a part of the competition. We’ve prepared well, and I think our preparation will pay off in the end. ---Derrick Thompson, 20, Buffalo, N.Y., biology major.

Q: While the team is in Los Angeles, do you all plan to visit any famous landmarks?

A: Well, one of our activities as part of the competition is going to Disneyland, so that will be fun. It will be good to be off campus and to interact with students from other colleges. But first and foremost, we want to win. We want to represent our University well. ---Derek Smith, 20, Chesapeake, history major.


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