MSU students will soon be surrounded by some of the top students in Michigan - and theyre not even out of high school.
More than 500 high school students from across the state will compete in the 14th annual State Championship High School Quiz Bowl on Friday and Saturday in the Union.
Senate Majority Leader Dan DeGrow, R-Port Huron, started the competition 14 years ago.
He saw how we really celebrate the culture of high school sports, and he felt there wasnt enough in the schools for students who were excelling academically, said Aaron Keesler, a communications director in DeGrows office.
This is the first time the event will be held at MSU and Keesler said having it on campus was a logical choice.
Senator DeGrow is term-limited and he wanted to make sure the competition would continue, and make sure that there would be someone who would keep it going, Keesler said. And MSU is centrally located for all of the participating schools.
In order to compete, the 70 teams, from Class A, B and C/D schools, must have won either a league championship or major tournament. The Class A winner of this competition will move on to the national competition in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
Keesler said the knowledge the students possess will amaze spectators.
Its really a lot of fun, he said. The kids are really smart, quick-witted and very bright. They know the answers to questions you wouldnt even imagine.
Its really the smartest kids from every school district in the state going head-to-head.
The event is also being sponsored by the MSU Honors College.
Bess German, assistant director for external relations in the Honors College, said this double-elimination competition will be intense.
There will be a winners bracket and a losers bracket, she said. The winner of the losers bracket gets to go on and compete with some of the winners. Its so they just dont lose once and then theyre out.
German said its very exciting to see high school students excelling through academics.
People will be surprised to see what young people do know about history and philosophy, she said. Its an impressive show of academic excellence on the high school level.
Barbara Spearman, sales coordinator for the Union, said hosting events like this is important for the university and its growth.
Students get to see the campus, she said. And these are students we would like to have here at MSU. They get to see us firsthand.
It creates a closer bond between them and ourselves.
Spearman said this is not the first time the Union has hosted this type of competition.
Weve had quiz bowls in the past, like the college bowls which are sponsored by the Union Activities Board, she said.
Spearman said the Unions accessibility is what often attracts visiting programs.
Its an easy building for the public to find, she said. Parking isnt hard, so if people are coming to see just a certain team compete they can come in and leave quickly.
The State Championship High School Quiz Bowl begins at 11 a.m. Friday at the Union. The competition will resume at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Union. The event is free and open to the public.