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PCC takes grand prize at World Affairs Council ‘World Quest’ 2013 competition

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There’s “smarty-pants,” and then there’s “award-winning smarty-pants.”

And Portland Community College has been tapped as the latter.

PCC's 2013 'World Quest' championship team includes (from left to right) Jane Zunkel, Tina Sparks, John Sparks, Bryan Hull, Bonnie Starkey, Linda Gerber, Dave Stout, and Marlene Eid.

PCC’s 2013 ‘World Quest’ championship team includes (from left to right) Jane Zunkel, Tina Sparks, John Sparks, Bryan Hull, Bonnie Starkey, Linda Gerber, Dave Stout, and Marlene Eid.

A district-wide group of faculty and staff from throughout the college teamed together to participate in the World Quest Global Knowledge Competition for Grownups, an annual event hosted by the World Affairs Council of Oregon at the end of November, at Oak Parks Historic Dance Pavilion.

The PCC team was one of nearly 20 competing in a test of global knowledge. Questions pertained to internationally prominent people, places, current events, history, economics, politics, and geography, among other topics. Teams ranged from Nike, to PCC, to Columbia Sportswear, to Lewis & Clark College, to Mercy Corps, to Miller Nash, LLP, to Portland State University, to Wells Fargo, and many more.

“This was a breakthrough for us,” said Dave Stout, division dean at Sylvania Campus for English and World Languages, who noted that the PCC team came in third place last year.

“For even the most educated person in the room, there is still room to learn about things we don’t know, based on the questions and answers unveiled as part of the evening,” said Stout. “It’s a great time.”

For the past 10 years Stout, PCC staff and international students have volunteered with the World Affairs’ World Quest Global Knowledge Competition for High Schools, an annual daylong competition for high school students from throughout the state to test their knowledge on international topics. Over time, attendees and volunteers wondered if there could be a similar version for grownups – which is what spawned the event, now in its fourth year.

The PCC 2013 'World Quest' team celebrates its victory with cheers and hugs.

The PCC 2013 ‘World Quest’ team celebrates its victory with cheers and hugs.

With Stout’s support – and now PCC’s membership in the World Affairs Council – the college has participated in the event each year.

“It was tremendously fun, and our team was ecstatic when were named the champions and walked away with the trophy,” said Linda Gerber, Sylvania Campus president.

And while the win was one the team was proud of, Gerber emphasized the fun element, too.

“Our team leader, John Sparks, not only came up with the bulk of our correct answers, but ‘managed’ the adjacent Lewis & Clark table, feeding them incorrect answers, while the table immediately behind us fed us equally incorrect answers,” she said with a laugh. “This went on the whole night; it was great fun, and very funny, all at the same time.”

Added Bryan Hull, Composition and Literature instructor, “What was shocking was that when they announced who was in first, second, etc., midway through the competition, PCC wasn’t in the top three. So, we had no idea that we were really in the running and that close until the very end.”

For more information about the World Affairs Council of Oregon, visit: http://worldoregon.org/about

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