By Jim Misunas
ROZEL — Pawnee Heights Scholars Bowl coach Britt Ewy knows the Tigers are battling the odds every time they compete. One of the state’s smallest schools has overcome those odds to qualify for the Class 1A Division II Scholars Bowl state competition Saturday at Natoma High School.
With 23 students when the school count was made Sept. 20, 2011, Pawnee Heights is the second-smallest school in Kansas.
Pawnee Heights Scholars Bowl state qualifiers are Scarlett Olson, Casey Spence, Aaron Clapham, Rayna Karst, Jayton Salmans and Jake Hardiman.
Questions range in world language, social studies, language arts, mathematics, science and health, fine arts and year in review. Spence is a math specialist. Karst is an expert on fine arts and English. Hardiman likes science and sports questions. Clapham can handle a variety of questions. Twelve Pawnee Heights students competed in Scholars Bowl.
“With 12 students out for Scholars Bowl, that’s half the students,” said Coach Britt Ewy. “I was impressed that half the students are committed to Scholars Bowl. Schools seem to respect what we’re doing and that gives them more confidence. Everyone chips in.”
The team practices once a week in the morning and meets one other time during the week. Pawnee Heights finished third in an 11-team regional at Kiowa. They finished 3-2 after pool play and competed in 10 matches during the day.
“It was pretty crazy when we qualified — we were more surprised than anything,” Ewy said. “We were grateful that we got over the hump. We had finished as high as fourth all year, but we peaked at the right time.”
Ewy said the Scholars Bowl questions are primarily based on core curriculum.
“Our teachers got them to state because they are teaching the Kansas standards properly,” Ewy said. “This shows they are getting a great education.”
Pool B will be comprised of Weskan, Pawnee Heights, Hutchinson Central Christian, Baileyville, Almena-Northern Valley and Ransom-Western Plains. Pool A teams are Rolla, Cunningham, Axtell, Healy, Beloit-St. John’s and Wallace County.
Ewy teaches sixth grade and coaches junior high basketball and track. All nine boys in junior high played basketball.