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Lavizzo Elementary Students Excel at School’s Annual Black History Month Quiz Bowl

27 February 2023

Students competed in teams to demonstrate their knowledge of various topics related to Black History Month. 

Winning Team

When you visit Lavizzo Elementary School in Roseland for its annual Black History Bowl, you see its commitment to celebrating Black history and culture even before you arrive at the gymnasium for the event. Its doors are decorated, student projects on influential Black figures line the hallway, and pennants for historically Black colleges are taped to the walls.

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The bowl consisted of eight teams of five students each ranging from fourth to eighth grade. Each team was led by a teacher or other staff member at the school who stepped up as the team’s coach to help them study the various questions and topics that could be asked. And they were each named after a historically Black college, such as Lemoyne-Owen College, Benedict College, and Howard University. 

In each round, two teams went head-to-head to answer eight questions in front of an audience of their peers and Lavizzo staff. The rules were simple: the first team to buzz in had the opportunity to answer the question, but you had to wait for the question to be fully asked before buzzing in. 

The students had so much energy and confidence that they often buzzed in too quickly. But they learned to be patient so they could have more chances to answer the questions before the other team. Topics ranged from the arts to sports to history, and the students showed that they had been studying hard as they answered question after question correctly. 

They ended up knowing the answer to nearly every question, and the audience erupted in cheers and applause every time they were correct.

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The winning team was led by Mr. Phillip Clay, a fourth- and fifth-grade math teacher, and they dominated the final round, answering seven out of eight questions correctly. Tristan, a sixth-grade student, was on the winning team, and he describes his team as “awesome” and his coach as “great.” 

He explains that he was excited to win the bowl because he had been studying for a long time, devoting 30 minutes each day to going over the potential questions. Studying came naturally to him because he enjoyed learning about all topics equally since they all increased his knowledge of Black history.

Mr. Clay also describes the experience as “great” and was eager to congratulate all the teams for participating. He says that his team knew almost every question because of all their studying, and the benefits of this experience will be something the students can take with them for years to come. 

“We had plenty of days that we would get together at the end of the week to study, and I also encouraged them to study a little extra on the weekends,” he said. “It’s very important for them to know where they came from and to understand the history of their ancestors.” 


How many of these eight questions from the first round of the competition can you get right? 

Question #1
Who wrote the best-selling memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings?
See the correct answer here.

Question #2
Which city is known as the birthplace of hip-hop?
See the correct answer here.

Question #3
Which movie was dedicated to three Black female mathematicians who were vital to the success of NASA?
See the correct answer here.

Question #4
Who was the first Black individual to win an Oscar for Best Actor?
See the correct answer here.

Question #5
Who was the first Black individual to win a Pulitzer Prize? 
See the correct answer here.

Question #6
What holiday commemorates June 19, 1865, the day on which enslaved Africans in Galveston, Texas finally received the news that they were free?
See the correct answer here.

Question #7
What NFL player elected to the Hall of Fame was the first Black individual to serve on the Minnesota Supreme Court? 
See the correct answer here.

Question #8 
Which Black female designed the first furnace powered by natural gas?
See the correct answer here.

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