Who was the first president to live in the White House? What was the first article of Mahatma Gandhi’s faith? Heat is transferred through radiation, conduction, and what?
John Adams. Nonviolence. Convection.
These were just some of the trivia questions students from Bat Torah-The Alisa M. Flatow Yeshiva answered in Tuesday night’s episode of “The Challenge,” a teen trivia game show on the MSG Varsity cable network. In the first round of the competition, filmed earlier in November, the Paramus school beat Bergenfield High School and will advance to a second round early next year.
“The Challenge,” now in its 14th season, tests high school students from across the tri-state area on their knowledge of history, arts, current events, math, and science. More than 190 public and private schools are competing this year, including The Frisch School in Paramus and Torah Academy of Bergen County and Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls, both in Teaneck.
One school in each region will be named a regional champion and receive $2,500. The regional champions will then face each other in a Tri-State Showdown in June for a prize of $10,000. The schools put together teams of four students with one alternate to compete in the trivia test. MSG Varsity sent the schools sample questions and study guides covering questions from Greek mythology to chemistry and U.S. history.
“It’s extremely hard to study because it’s all over the place,” said Ora Kornbluth, Bat Torah’s student activities director. “It’s just general knowledge.”
And so students turned to other kinds of study guides as well, like watching “Jeopardy” and “Cash Cab,” said the team captain, senior Nikki Kornbluth of Bergenfield.
“We’re really proud and hoping to do as well in the second round,” said Nikki, 17. “[The questions] were challenging but as some point we were surprised by how much we knew.”
Chevie Pahmer, a 16-year-old junior from Passaic, said she and the other team members slept at Nikki’s home the night before the competition to study and they were fielding questions in the car on their way to the studio. Some of the sample questions they read on the way popped up during the competition, and, Chevie said, it was “nice seeing that studying actually did pay off.”
Everybody in the competition was very supportive of one another, said Atara Sherman, a 17-year-old junior from Monsey, N.Y.
“It was very exciting, very fun,” she said. “We got to hang out with really cool people we had never met before.”
Rabbi David Sher, the College Bowl adviser for The Frisch School, said “The Challenge” gives students the opportunity to compete against students from outside the College Bowl Yeshiva League.” He could not reveal who won the match between Frisch and Madison High School, but he said it was “an intense game. It came down to the very end.”
“It challenged the students to work together, stay quick on their toes,” Sher said. “They performed well. I’m proud of them.”
While Frisch, TABC, and Ma’ayanot’s teams wait for their episodes to air, Bat Torah’s team is getting ready for the next round.
“We’re very proud of our girls and we’re excited about going back in February,” said Miriam Bak, Bat Torah’s principal.