Virtual Academic Bowl Provides Opportunity for Young Scholars To Aim for the Stars



Young student fills out a math problem on a piece of paper with a red pencil

This year’s “Aiming for the Stars” African American Male Academic Bowl competitors answered quiz questions online and cheered for each other through the livestreamed event’s comments section instead of in person.

Despite the move to a virtual format, organizers made the 12th annual academic bowl, usually held at The University of Texas at Dallas, as close to the on-campus event as possible.

“We refuse to let COVID-19 stop us from having this bowl,” said Arthur Gregg, assistant vice president for multicultural affairs at UT Dallas, director of the Multicultural Center and academic bowl steering committee member.

Highlights from the Jan. 30 event, including a pep rally and speakers, can be viewed here. The competition rounds, which do not appear on screen, were held separately.

Typically, more than 100 middle school contestants from dozens of teams visit campus to compete for trophies and prizes in the annual “Jeopardy!”-style competition, featuring questions about math and African American history. This year’s scaled-down event included seven local teams representing Skyview Elementary School in the Richardson Independent School District, Staley Middle School in the Frisco Independent School District and an independent team called the Math Eagles led by a parent volunteer from Allen, Texas.

After several rounds of competition, the Math Eagles team was declared champion. Team members received trophies and Bluetooth headphone systems donated by the UT Dallas Tech Store.

The African American Male Academic Bowl is hosted by UT Dallas’ Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, along with the nonprofit Project Still I Rise. The event featured guest speaker Kelvin Walker, CEO of the Dallas Citizens Council, and remarks from UT Dallas President Richard C. Benson.

Next year’s event, which organizers anticipate will be on campus, will be Jan. 29, 2022.

“Start preparing for next year’s bowl,” Gregg said. “We’re going to be back.”

–Kim Horner

Take the Quiz

Try your hand at some of the sample questions from the African American Male Academic Bowl:

1. Who was the first African American to appear on a U.S. postage stamp?
a. Harriet Tubman
b. Jackie Robinson
c. Booker T. Washington
d. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

2. Which of these honors was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. not awarded?
a. Presidential Medal of Freedom
b. Freedom Award
c. Congressional Gold Medal
d. Nobel Peace Prize

3. Who was the first African American head coach in the National Football League?
a. Dennis Green
b. Tony Dungy
c. Art Shell
d. Fritz Pollard

1. Booker T. Washington
2. Freedom Award
3. Fritz Pollard