Trivia Challenge: America Edition

Elder students flex their knowledge of American trivia.


It was just another night at Walgreens. As I was working my Thursday night shift, one of my coworkers decided to be funny. He ambled up to my position and asked me, “Alex, what’s the capital of North Dakota?” Dumbfounded, I blurted out a guess, saying “Ummm..Dover?” He then proceeded to tell me that I was thinking of Delaware’s capital, and that the capital of North Dakota was Bismarck.

Truthfully, I was pretty annoyed after getting that question wrong. Getting the question wrong led me to ask, “How much do I really know about my own country?” Then that question led me to thinking about how much my peers know about America.

Throughout the past week, I went around asking my fellow students to answer random American trivia questions. All contestants were given the disclaimer that whatever answer they gave would go into this article. I interviewed two students from each grade level, here are the results:

The first contestant for the senior class was Ryan Bengel. I asked Ryan if he could name a majority of the U.S. State capitals (26/50) when given the state. In the end, Ryan succeeded, naming 39 out of the 50 capitals, with his only glaring incorrect answer being Kentucky’s capital, Frankfort.

The final contestant for the senior class was Ryan Sweeney. Ryan was asked to name the 2nd and 44th presidents of America. Ryan got the first question right, saying John Adams was America’s 2nd president. However, to the dismay of the senior class, Ryan answered that the great George W. Bush was our 44th president. The correct answer was Barack Obama, the current President of the United States.

The first contestant for the junior class was Elliot Reiring. Elliot was asked how many members are in the U.S. Senate. After taking a while to respond, he reached his answer: 100. Solid answer.

The final contestant for the junior class was Ryan Ruehl. Ryan was asked when America gained its independence. After thinking the question over, Ryan gave the correct answer, July 4, 1776. Overall, a strong showing from the juniors.

The first contestant for the sophomore class was Sam Halloran. Sam’s question was “True or false: the Battle of Apple Orchard Courthouse was a decisive Civil War battle for the Confederates.” Sam answered true, unaware of the fact that it wasn’t an actual battle. Surely, Sam would’ve known the answer to that question if he’d spent a year in American History with Coach Eisele.

The final contestant for the sophomore class was Pat Anderson. Pat’s question was “True or false: Vice President John Wayne, along with Abraham Lincoln, played a major role in the abolition of slavery.” Pat replied saying false, knowing that John Wayne was an old western movie hero, not a Vice President.

Last but not least were the freshmen.

The first contestant for the freshman class was my younger brother, Jack Wertz. As we were sitting at the breakfast table, I asked Jack, “Who was the 16th President of the United States?” Jack replied quickly, saying “Abraham Lincoln, are you kidding me?” Clearly, I underestimated my younger brother’s knowledge of American history.

The final contestant for the freshman class was Jack Burgasser. I asked him what the capital of Ohio was. Jack’s answer was startling: Cleveland. When I told Jack’s older brother, Senior Nick Burgasser, about his younger brother’s answer, Nick replied saying, “You know, he’s a smart kid. However, geography was never his strong suit. I mean, come on though, everyone knows the capital of Ohio is Cincinnati.” After hearing Nick’s response, it’s safe to say geography was also never his strong suit (correct answer: Columbus).

All in all, my fellow students did a pretty good job with these questions. Although we should all know these basic facts, it’s not too often that you need to use them–you know, unless if someone comes up to you in Walgreens and tries to test your knowledge.