By Tim Leeds
Students from Havre High School and St. Jude's-Havre Central competed in the Knowledge Master Open on Dec. 6, with the Havre High students getting the second highest score in the state.
Only Billings Skyview's score was higher than Havre's, reversing the placing last spring when Skyview took second to Havre.
Knowledge Master is an international competition, where the students answer questions posed to them by a computerized test, then the scores are ranked overall, by state and by school size.
The questions were displayed on several monitors in the room, while one student keyed the answers. The students worked together to give the correct answers. Junior Chris Barts was the Havre student on the keyboard, with seniors Jason Bowker, Jayson Nissen and David Chambers, juniors Mike Frey, Nick Obie, Dallas Crossley and Andy Edwards, sophomores Carrie Flatau, Matt Welch, Phillip Schatzka and Mario Pizzini, and freshmen Ross Coons, Jeff Sprinkle and Kelly Lamb rounding out the team. The students were selected for the team on the basis of several oral and written assessments.
Havre's score was 54th out of the total of 246 schools with between 500 and 1,000 students, said Diane Way, who was the academic coach for the team along with Carol Pleninger and Gary Staudinger.
This was the second time Skyview and Havre High competed, along with 10 other Montana high schools, and the first time for the Havre Central students. The Spring 2001 Knowledge Master Open is scheduled for April 18.
Way said they receive a disk with the test, which is coded so it can only be turned on once. Once the test is started, it cannot be stopped until it is completed. The students can pause the test five times to take a break. Way said the test is generally about three hours long, although the Havre students completed it in about two-and-a-half hours.
The Havre Central students had a difficult test, taking the exam after a full day of school. Way said the test wears out even the older students.
"You get tired," she said. "The kids went really well for about an hour-and-a-half, then started to slow down."
Once the coded results are submitted, Way said, they received a password to open the test again for practice and review.
The test includes two hundred questions in fourteen categories, including American and world history, government, recent events, English, literature, sciences, fine arts and "useless trivia." Separate tests are administered for the high school and junior high or middle school levels. Points are given for both the correct answer and the speed the question is answered in. The results are tabulated by Academic Hallmarks, a Colorado publishing firm that hosts the event.
Contest results, information and sample questions are available online at www.greatauk.com.