Quiz Bowlers Win Gold!

Dianna Jimenez, Staff Writer

During the week of Spring Break, the seven competent Quiz Bowlers of Downey High School drove down to San Diego to compete in the state finals of SkillsUSA. With nothing but knowledge and perseverance permeating their minds, all seven members succeeded in the finals by beating all top competing schools–including Warren–and brought home gold.


The fellow team members of Quiz Bowl include senior team captains Robert Nevarez and Pablo Santos; teammates Carlos Agredano, Daniel Padilla, Andrew Bilodeau, Tristan Cortez, and Jonathan Yi. For Downey’s Quiz Bowl team, former senior, Aaron Ramirez inspires them and became an impetus to their achievements. Ramirez graduated from Downey High School in 2015 and was the former captain of Quiz Bowl who brought elation and high spirits to the team.


“I was in psych class and I just so happen to sit next to Aaron and he randomly asked me one day ‘Hey Pablo what’s the biggest prime factor of 51?’ and I tell him ‘17’ and he says ‘pretty good, why don’t you join Quiz Bowl?’” Santos said, “so then I joined Quiz Bowl.”


“Kinda the same thing for me, I had him for my bio class and he was just the loudest guy in there and he told me one day ‘Hey you’re cute, you should join Quiz Bowl,’” Agredano said.


There are facets of Quiz Bowl that the team members seem to love and appreciate: the adrenaline, intellectual compatibility, and feeling of accomplishment. A “brotherhood,” as they call it, blossomed between the seven members who share a passion for trivial questions. With the friendship and communal amicable dispositions they procure, they are able to enjoy Quiz Bowl in a family-like style.


“When you know the question and you buzz in right away, there’s a great feeling of satisfaction,” Padilla said.


“Yeah, it’s weird because it’s not a sport, obviously, but you still get that adrenaline when you’re sitting down and you’re trying to contain yourself,” Santos said.


“For me it’s the jokes we make and the ability to understand each other with intellectual jokes that you’re not usually able to tell regular people,” Agredano said.


“It’s the camaraderie that you feel and the sense of pride in your achievement that you have competing on the team and representing your school that I really enjoy about it,” Nevarez said.


Quiz Bowl administrator, Mr. Armendariz, likes the bonding time he gets to spend with the students and the trips they take that are outside of Downey.


“I think my favorite part about Quiz Bowl is just the new experiences that students and I go through together, so when we go to state we go and get to know San Diego. We’ve gone to a couple of universities and bowling too,” Mr. Armendariz said. “It’s just a fun experience to go out with the students and get to know a little more about life outside of Downey, and same thing for nationals. When we went to Kentucky we just experienced a whole new world that I didn’t even know that existed. We met some interesting people and ate some good food.”


Mr. Armendriz is grateful for all that Downey High School’s administration team has done to bolster not only the Quiz Bowl, but the SkillsUSA organization as a whole.


“I would just like to thank Ms. Vadgama for helping put this together, Maria Lopez, and Mr. Davis and just the whole district because without SkillsUSA many of these kids would not have the opportunity to get to know these places or get to bond with some of their friends so I really appreciate all of their support in this,” Mr. Armendariz said.


Six members of the gold-winning team are seniors, while only one is a junior. Bilodeau, 11, is a Quiz Bowl novice and an important element of the team. He bolstered Quiz Bowl to get to where they are now; his senior teammates truly appreciate all his hard work this year.


“I trust Andrew Bilodeau,” Agredano said. “If all six people in Quiz Bowl were to have a baby, it would be Andrew. I have faith in him, he inspires other kids just like Aaron does.”


“We’re proud of our junior,” Nevarez says. “We know that the future is in good hands next year.”


“The fact that we have him, adds another layer of depth to our team. He has AP US History and a lot of us forget, so he is really valuable in that area and he’s grown so much and going into next year; he’ll be a great captain,” Cortez said.


Similarly, Bilodeau feels as though his teammates have had a formative impact on him that has shaped his disposition positively.


“I couldn’t have asked for a better team. I’m just glad that I could be a part of the best Quiz Bowl team in the state and I’m going to miss these guys when they graduate,” Bilodeau says.“They’ve taught me so much, not just about Quiz Bowl, but about anything in life.”


For future potential candidates of Quiz Bowl, these Quiz Bowlers advise that students try out; if students have a propensity for random trivial facts, this is the perfect place for them!


“Do it. Just try out because if you think you have an interest in current events or if you feel like you’re one of those people who knows random things about random stuff then please try out and join,” Bilodeau said. “Do your best and we’ll find a place.”


“It’s pretty much open to anybody. Don’t feel intimidated to go, just because there’s a bunch of smart people, you can feed off of those people and learn a lot from them. Just be open to it,” Cortez said. “If there’s just one field you know a lot about, there will be a place for you, there’s a place for everybody, if you’re willing to make that effort.”

As the great indelible legacy that these seven Quiz Bowlers have left comes to an end, they assure Downey High School that at nationals in SkillsUSA they will end strong–Downey strong.

Quiz Bowl wishes to end their legacy like the famous NBA player that recently retired, Kobe Bryant.


“We’re just here to Quiz Ball up! We want to end like Kobe; we’re gonna go for 60 points at nationals,” Agredano said. “This is our last year and we want to make it memorable.”


This prodigious Quiz Bowl team has left a formative imprint in the history of Downey, and will continue to do so at nationals in Kentucky.