New clubs promise thrilling battle of the brains

September 16, 2009 — by Denise Lin

This year, two new clubs, Quiz Bowl and Mechanical Science and Engineering Team, or MSET, plan to challenge students intellectually while also allowing them to explore different interests. Quiz Bowl will revolve around trivia competitions, while MSET members will demonstrate their skill in rocketry and robotics at various competitions as well.

For those who would like to build rockets or robots regularly or want to investigate a possible career in engineering, MSET will be sure to offer these opportunities.

The club plans to enroll in several mechanical science and engineering competitions and workshops, according to club founder and president Cordell Hollingsworth.

Hollingsworth decided to create this club for students interested in science and technology following the end of Saratoga Robotics Team, or SRT.

SRT ended last year in controversy, not as a result of lack of members or funding.

“It was more of an internal issue,” said Erika Ye, who led the club as president last year.

But the death of one club led to the birth of another, and MSET will incorporate several parts of SRT.

“MSET’s goal is to create a student’s science community where you can create, have fun and interact with technology mentors and technology companies,” said Hollingsworth.

Members will be able to attend nationwide competitions against other high schools. For example, MSET will compete in US FIRST Robotics competition and Team America Rocketry Contest (TARC). Preparation and working time is crucial, so club members will prepare for these competitions during workshops held on Sundays.

However, building a science community requires sponsorship such as cash funding, materials and technical training from parents and technology companies.

“We really need parent and technology company support,” said Hollingsworth.

With the interest of several students and previous SRT members, and outside support, MSET hopes to help robotics come back strong.

And for those who watch “Jeopardy!” or have a knack for memorizing random facts, Quiz Bowl will prove to be an attractive choice.

“I have been interested in trivia for a long time,” said club creator and president Vijay Menon. Menon was influenced to create the club after his friends from other schools experienced success with the organization.

Members will have the opportunity to battle top teams such as Bellarmine and Harker.

To have a shot against such tough teams, the club is going to require preparation and experience from its members.

“Northern California is a powerhouse in Quiz Bowl,” said Menon.

The club, advised by English teacher Bill Peck, might host a tournament early in the year to help members gain some experience and pay for materials such as buzzers and practice questions.

“It would be a way to make money off of registration fees while getting some early-year competition experience for ourselves,” said Menon.

Winners receive trophies, but the best groups are also guaranteed spots at the national tournament. The club’s goal is to earn a bid to the national competition, said Menon. The competition caters to a wide audience, offering a variety of interests and featuring numerous categories, ranging from sports to mythology.

The club was originally created at the end of last year, but only a few people joined. This year, however, promises a great turnout for Quiz Bowl.

“So far a lot of people have shown interest [in the club],” said Menon. “It’s our first full year, and people from last year really want to make it happen.”

Not long from now, new clubs Quiz Bowl and MSET will allow students to grow intellectually and socially, all in a competitive environment.

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