From left, ALC students Madison Smith, Stormy Presson, Sylinda Davis, Teyanna Ross, Destiny Roberts and Jordan Meier, with the guidance of teacher Brooke Auer (at computer)
They competed in the state-wide Elympics. The team, named Auer of Power, finished seventh.

WALC students compete in state-wide contest


Fueled by Bloedow’s donuts, bottles of Gatorade, and the competitive spirit, several students at the Winona Area Learning Center on Thursday tested their smarts, their research skills, and their stamina against other students around the state in the 2019 Elympics. 

The Elympics is a semi-annual trivia competition sponsored by the Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs. The event pits the state’s area learning centers against each other in a friendly and educational contest. 

The Winona ALC team, named the “Auer of Power” after teacher Brooke Auer, finished seventh out of 30 teams in the competition, which covered a wide array of topics such as geography, history, biology, sports, math, and more.

The team members included Sylinda Davis, Destiny Roberts, Madison Smith, Stormy Presson, Jordan Meier, Teyanna Ross, and Veronica Gonzalez. The students, who also got pizza during the break, wore bright colorful Winona headbands donated by Winona Apparel. 

Auer provided guidance and support throughout the nearly five-hour event but never corrected a wrong answer or offered up the right one if the students were stuck. All of the answers came directly from the students, who weren’t afraid to step up if a question was in a subject matter of their liking or take a break when one was needed.

The questions were given through Schoology. Three questions were immediately posted at the start at each of two two-hour sessions, with one additional question posted every five minutes. Teams had up to 30 minutes from the time each question was posted to submit an answer for that question. At the 90-minute mark, the session’s final three questions were posted. There was a break held between the two questions.

One-hundred points were awarded per question, and the points were evenly distributed among the teams sending a correct response. There was no bonus for quickness.

Some of the questions the Auer of Power team answered during the second session included: 

• A math question regarding combinations of pizza toppings

• Asking students to arrange a list of 20 American cities from west to east  

• A question about fishing rules in Minnesota 

• Questions about boat terminology

Meier was the group’s number expert. When a second Numbrix puzzle — think Sudoku but much more difficult and frustrating — popped up, everyone took a restroom break while Meier went to work with paper and pencil. He wasn’t sure about his answer but time was nearly up and the group was ready to move on. Determined to figure it out, he took a picture of the puzzle with his phone to solve at home later.

Most of the questions required students to use their phones or Chromebooks to scour the internet, then work as a team to figure out the answer. 

This led to some great interactions from the team. They talked about their favorite songs or movies when time permitted — there was an audible gasp when one student admitted she had never seen the “Lion King.” Another question about planets opened the door for a passionate and colorful monologue on the status of Pluto as a planet.

There was a sigh of relief when the final question — asking students about how to say thank-you in various languages — was answered.

“This was kind of stressful,” Ross said, “but I enjoyed it.”


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