JROTC knowledge bowl team prepares for another successful year



The leader of the JROTC Knowledge Bowl, Sarah Terhune (11), talks to Second Lieutenant Andrew Yount (10) before the competition. The team beat Cordova High School, one of their toughest competitors.

Among the numerous trophies in the JROTC building, the seventh brigade stands the tallest. The seventh brigade is the highest level of competition in the knowledge bowl, and White Station won the blue trophy for it last year. (MADELINE BREUNIG//THE SCROLL)
Amy Zhang (10) helps Carolin Chou (10) pull her hair back for the competition against Cordova High School. Chou’s hair had to be properly arranged in order to meet uniform protocol.

Marching in line to achieve another victory, the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) frantically studies and memorizes possible questions word for word for their upcoming knowledge bowl competitions.

Last year, the JROTC program had their first in-person competitions since COVID-19 hit. They set a high expectation for this year by winning in the seventh brigade, the highest level of the knowledge bowl competition.

“The level after city is seventh brigade, which is our division since we’re in Tennessee,” Andrew Yount (10) said. “Each brigade consists of five or six states … the seventh brigade last year was in Fort Knox, Kentucky.”

Second Lieutenant Yount participated on the knowledge bowl team last year. The seventh brigade competition includes participants from Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, and, so far, there have been two competitions this year. The first competition was against Craigmont High School and the second was against one of their toughest competitors, Cordova High School. 

“This week’s competition [won against Cordova High School] was 68-90, and the other one [against Craigmont High School] was around 225-30,” Sarah Terhune (11) said. “We only lost one competition last year, so we have a good streak.”

The next school they will be competing against is Germantown High School on Oct. 15. As Cadet Captain, Terhune manages the knowledge bowl team by making sure everyone is prepared and studied their questions even bringing cookies for her team after they win a competition. 

“The questions can vary,” Carolin Chou (10) said. “We have four different levels, and all the questions are based on the curriculum we learn each year. We have to memorize word for word the answers in the packets given. We have about 300 questions per LET, but we are assigned even or odd, and we have to memorize them verbatim.” 

There are four Leadership Education Training (LET) levels in a curriculum. Some topics that are tested on are uniform, history, definitions, leadership and social etiquette. This serves as Chou’s second year in JROTC, and she is ranked as Staff Sergeant. 

“It’s mainly questions from the ROTC curriculum,” Cadet Captain Amy Zhang (10) said. “It’s like health, leadership, and last year we had these gardening questions for learning styles stuff like that. There’s really specific things about how to eat your food.”

This year, Zhang will also compete in the knowledge bowl for her second time in a row. . With Quizlet as the team’s best friend, they strive to memorize their hundreds of assigned questions in time for their competition. 

“Our goal is to do the best we can,” Chou said. “To get the most points so we are able to go into seventh brigade like last year and win the trophy.”