Inside Recife: Everything that Went Down this Year at Knowledge Bowl

Last week, Graded’s Knowledge Bowl team travelled to Recife in order to compete against several other international schools in what was a frustrating, enlightening, and enjoyable tournament. Our team won fourth place and did extremely well throughout the competition. However, the trip to Recife wasn’t only limited to the intense competition. In order to find out more about the events of this intellectual competition, The Talon decided to interview one of the members of Graded’s team: Lorenza Colagrossi.


The responses from this interview have been edited purely for clarity and syntax, not content.


The Talon: You’ve been in Knowledge Bowl for quite a while, correct? How was this competition different from the other ones you’ve attended?

Lorenza: Yes, I’ve been in Knowledge Bowl since my freshman year! Overall, the style of the tournament was fairly similar and the system of homestays continued. The differences were not that significant except that there were fewer biblical questions and our prized flag football tournament had been replaced by bowling.


The Talon: How do you think Graded did this year in comparison to other years?

Lorenza: Graded did very well this year. Despite our defeats in the final rounds, we had the most points. We scored 243 points in total while the next best team only scored 148 points. Even though the defeat was very difficult for our team, I am very proud of how we worked well together and acted as a true family.


The Talon: What were some of the best moments of the competition?

Lorenza: I think one of the funniest moments we shared as a team together was when we had a bonus question on currencies and our guess ended up being correct. Our reaction was priceless, and it made us laugh so much together. Another amazing moment for me personally was when I got a question correct about the ballet Firebird composed by Stravinsky. The bonus was about novels by Fitzgerald and, without hesitation, I answered the 3 questions [without] using all the time provided. Also, a picture that defined our trip illustrated all of our reactions to the other team getting a calculus problem before us—it was priceless.

Credits: Will Conway
Credits: Will Conway

The Talon: What was the area of expertise of each team member?

Lorenza: Jack’s area is politics, international affairs, current events, and many aspects of history. Roberto is our math and science guy, but he also has a strong hold of the arts and the humanities. Will is our sports guy. Alexandre is very knowledgeable of political documents and constitutional amendments. My areas of expertise are literature in general and history that primarily deals with monarchs, pop culture, and the arts.


The Talon: Do you have advice for future Graded Knowledge Bowl teams?

Lorenza: Yes. Over the years, I have been lucky enough to receive wonderful advice from Knowledge Bowl members who have already graduated. [First of all], it’s essential to have a balanced team. Success cannot be achieved if everyone on a team is an expert on the same topic. Having a wide range of people makes for the best of teams and also provides countless learning opportunities. The next piece of advice would be about the importance of teamwork. It may sound like a cliché, but it’s true. In tournaments, you are no longer an individual; you are “Graded”. Your team’s failure is your failure; your team’s success is your success. When you’re sitting in the chair with the buzzer in your hand, it may be difficult to remain calm, especially when your teammate gets a question wrong or is called out on technicalities. [However], maintaining a calm, sportive attitude without any blaming or anger is essential. I’ve made mistakes, and one of the best things about it is the fact that my teammates never made me feel guilty about it […]. I wasn’t afraid to take risks, and I knew they would always have my back. My final piece of advice is practice. Studying up on past question packets can be so helpful and makes a huge difference!


The Talon: What advice do you have for Graded when we host the tournament next semester?

Lorenza: I’m so excited that Graded is hosting next semester! It touches my heart thinking that my last tournament will be at home. I think organization is an essential component for any school hosting a tournament […]. I would also want to make sure [that] we get lots of assistance from the Graded community whether it is in the form of volunteer host families or students watching the tournaments for support. [Overall], I’m sure it will be a great success because our coach Mr. Prosalik is so committed and passionate about KB!