Edina WorldQuest takes home a state title and heads to nationals

Hannah Owens Pierre, Staff Writer

When junior Katerina Duda joined WorldQuest last year, she was one of only four underclassmen in an activity composed almost entirely of seniors. This year, after recruiting younger members, she led the revitalized club as co-captain to the state championship. 

WorldQuest is a trivia-based activity focused on international affairs. Teams of four compete against each other by answering multiple choice questions. This year, around 30 schools competed at the state tournament hosted at the Mall of America on March 1. 

As prize for winning first place, Duda, junior Raja Chinnakotla, senior Emma Brenner, senior Olivia Machart, and the club’s advisor Theresa Kingsbury won an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the national tournament on April 29.

When the results of the state tournament were announced, club members reacted with shock and joy. “It was really surreal because this year’s competition was a lot harder than last year’s,” Duda said. “Especially by the end, the current events questions were so hard that we missed a bunch in a row, so we were kind of setting ourselves to say it’s OK whoever wins at this rate…but then we won and it was super awesome, because we wanted it really bad.”  Chinnakotla, co-captain of the team, concurred. “Winning it was especially fun because we practiced really hard for it and we were kind of shocked by [the results],” he said. 

Last year, Duda and Chinnakotla won second place at the same tournament, setting high stakes. “People are really [at the state tournament] to have fun. But it was definitely a little tense because this year we felt the pressure to match or one-up ourselves,” Duda said. This year, Duda’s team beat out the team that bested them last year: Nova Classical Academy.

Outside of competition, the friendly, relaxed environment of WorldQuest attracts participants. “It’s just really fun to go to WorldQuest after school to get snacks and talk about current events. It’s an academic activity but not super stressful or cutthroat competitive. Everyone there, you get the feeling, is really happy for each other when we do well,” Duda said. 

Chinnakotla appreciates the collaboration. “My favorite thing is the community aspect of [WorldQuest} because you can’t do well on your own. You have to do it with your team,” he said.

This piece was originally published in Zephyrus’ print edition on April 20.