ELKIN — Imagine a venue other than a cutthroat corporate boardroom where it’s totally acceptable to be the smartest ones in the room. That competition would be the annual Northwestern Regional Library Quiz Bowl scheduled Jan. 19 at the Andy Griffith Playhouse.
According to Quiz Bowl spokeswoman Joan Sherif, the academic competition started in the area in 1980 and has continued for more than 20 years. It is a single-elimination competition between high school teams who compete in subjects including language, social studies, arts, science and current events.
Each match challenges two high school teams against each other to earn the most correct answers and points. Sherif said Quiz Bowl is sponsored by the 13 libraries of the Northwestern Regional Library in Alleghany, Stokes, Surry and Yadkin counties as well as the Elkin Friends of the Library and Mount Airy Friends of the Library.
Sherif explained the regional library group covers four counties with the main headquarters in Elkin. Centralized regional systems like this have been operating in the state since the 1950s for a variety of reasons.
“We share resources and it saves everybody money,” said Sherif. “It’s a good way to maximize the library dollars in each community. We share the books in our catalogue and also share costs. The system’s headquarters receives state money for operation and local communities support their libraries.”
She explained library patrons can use the shared catalogue of titles because books are regularly transferred between libraries by courier to meet readers’ requests.
“We are able to offer so much more to our readers by sharing resources,” added Sherif. “We have a great group of people on staff as well.” The quiz bowl just seemed to be a natural extension of this regional approach fueled by the local zest for competition and the popularity of television shows like Jeopardy.
This year the 10 teams competing include East Surry High School, North Surry High School, Surry Central High School, Surry Early college, Mount Airy High School, Elkin High School, Starmount High School, Stokes Early College, South Stokes High School and Yadkin Early College.
“It’s been a lively, fun program. We really do look forward to the quiz bowl and seeing what the students do. They are fantastic,” said Sherif. She said Surry Central was the winning team last year in a close match with Elkin High School who was the runner up. The program is free and the public is invited to attend.
Sherif said over the years she has seen participants such as East Surry High School English teacher Terry Collins, come full circle and return as sponsors for academic teams. She said another supporter of the competition is Pilot Mountain Town Manager Homer Dearmin.
“That’s what makes it exciting,” continued Sherif. “Mount Airy and the playhouse are such a good place to have this event. The theater adds so much and participants love to go downtown after the quiz bowl and eat, shop and just walk around. You see the generations of those involved. There has been an active tradition with this, and it’s been fun to see. We even have a traveling trophy that moves between the schools that win.”
Sherif said two long-time supporters of the quiz bowl, Pat Gwyn and Angela Llewellyn of the Mount Airy Library, return this year as well as Brack Llewellyn, who has served as the bowl moderator for many years.
“Brack is our version of Alex Trebek,” joked Sherif. “We even used to have someone who flipped the scorecards but not that is done by computer now.”
Reach David Broyles at dbroyles @civitasmedia.com or 719-1952.