Winning Team2A team from Bluffton High School took the top spot last weekend in Beaufort County’s Academic WorldQuest Competition and earned a trip to Washington, D.C., for next month’s national competition.

Bluffton High’s winners emerged victorious Saturday from an eight-question tiebreaker to beat a team from May River High. 

The winning Bluffton High team consisted of Kate Anderson, Nathan Lessard, Jordan Wilhelm and Bailey Yang. Teacher Pam Wolske was the coach.

A team from Hilton Head Island High placed third and a team from Whale Branch Early College High tied with Hilton Head Christian Academy for fourth. Teams from Beaufort High and May River High came in fifth and sixth, respectively.

The World Affairs Council of Hilton Head presented the ninth annual competition in partnership with the Beaufort County School District. During the competition at Hilton Head Island High, 10 teams faced a screen where multiple-choice questions were projected. 

Using electronic “clickers,” they had 45 seconds to answer each question posed.  Audience members sat behind the competing teams and were able to see the questions as they were projected on the screen.

The categories for questions focused on the nation’s top national security issues as voted on by the leaders of World Affairs Councils across the country: U.S.-Russia Relations; Country in Focus: South Korea; Preventing Extremism in Fragile States; Oceans: The World’s Garbage Dump; Great Decisions Book 2019 Edition; Brexit and the EU; China’s Belt and Road Initiative; Germany: 30 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall; Qatar and the Future of the Gulf Cooperation Council; and current events.

The winning team will travel to Washington in April for the national competition, said Ivan Bennett, the project director for WorldQuest in Beaufort County. The World Affairs Council pays the students’ travel expenses.

“To win two years in a row as Bluffton High has done is quite an accomplishment,” Bennett said. “It’s also exciting that two of our top teams this year – Whale Branch Early College High and Hilton Head Christian Academy – were first-time competitors.”

Bluffton High’s winning team will receive a traveling trophy that will be displayed at the school for one year. The top three teams received plaques.

Academic WorldQuest is the flagship educational program of the national network of World Affairs Councils and is held annually in more than 40 U.S. cities in 27 states.