OSWEGO, NY – Nearly 100 people gathered at Bishop’s Commons on Sunday afternoon to answer the question: “Are you smarter than a sixth grader?”
After battling back and forth for more than an hour in the format of the popular game show on TV, the contest ended in a tie. Even a tie-breaker question could settle the score.
Therefore, Julie Chetney, the moderator for the afternoon, declared everyone as smart as a sixth grader.
Her daughter, Claudia Chetney, organized the event as part of her Bronze Service Award project.
The event served as a fundraiser to collect canned or non-perishable goods for donation to the Human Concerns Center and Salvation Army.
Donations were collected by Claudia’s Girl Scout Troop, #391, at the door. Anyone wishing to make a donation may still do so. For more information, call Claudia at 561-7289.
She was assisted by other sixth graders from throughout the Oswego City School District.
Assisting Claudia on the panel were: Nick Holland, Fitzhugh Park School; Megan Lagoe, Charles E. Riley School; Connor Joyce, Fredrick Leighton School; Laurin Furlong, Trinity Catholic School; Shane Saunders, Kingsford Park; Leah Mullen, Minetto Elementary; and Zach Cary, Kingsford Park.
Maddy Taylor, a sixth grader at Kingsford, assisted Julie Chetney with the questions and scoring.
The students were paired in teams of four with residents Ellen Ridgway and Glenn Clark.
Clark is a retired superintendent of Fulton Schools and Ridgway is a retired quality assurance supervisor from Birdseye.
Claudia said she decided on this project to help stock the Human Concerns Center and Salvation Army food pantries, “And, make it fun for kids and adults.”
She thanked the residents for allowing her to hold the event in the Bishop’s Commons dining room, the rest of her troop for their support, the other students who joined her on the panel, and all of the parents, teachers, principals, families and friends that attended to cheer on participants.
Julie Chetney digressed slightly to tell a story about Clark.
Back in the day when he was superintendent, they didn’t have cell phones, she explained. When it was snowing badly and there was the possibility of a ‘snow day,’ he had to get in his car and drive around to test the roads himself.
One day he went out and it was storming so hard, he got stuck in a ditch. “So he couldn’t call anyone and all the kids had to go to school on that horrible day,” she said.
Both residents were quizzed, in separate rounds, on math, science, English, and social studies and more with the help of the sixth grade students if they get stumped on a question.
Clark got the competition going, opting for “fifth grade geography” – What state borders only one other state (Maine)?
He was joined by students Shane, Megan, Nick and Leah.
Their math and calendar skills were challenged by: If May first is a Tuesday, on what day of the week does June first fall on?
Other questions dealt with “second grade spelling” – How many vowels appear in the word ‘audio’? and “fifth grade earth science” – How many phases of the moon are there (8)? and the names of constellations.
Contestants also had to know their Roman numerals, the author of “Charlotte’s Web,” what differentiated one geometric shape from another, the parts of the digestive system, and the largest part of the brain.
“Thank the Lord that’s over,” Clark quipped at the end of his round. “That was harder than I thought it would be.”
His team wound up with 36 points.
Ridgway’s team of students consisted of Laurin, Connor, Claudia, and Zach.
The first grade question – asking for the number of pronouns used in the sample sentence – drew a “what’s a pronoun?” from one of the panelists.
Some of her other questions were: What are the lines of latitude called? What region of an insect has the antenna and mouth parts? What does a writer create for a play? And, in keeping with the ‘holiday’ season, in what year did Columbus make his voyage to America?
In the category of fifth grade pop culture, Claudia informed her mother that she had overheard her preparing that specific question.
“Oh, then you’re disqualified,” her mother said. “I didn’t know you heard us.”
One of the other students was pressed into service.
The question was – in what country was the famous pop icon Justin Bieber born? – everybody got the right answer, Canada.
The students didn’t always get the correct answer. The totals weren’t revealed until near the of Ridgway’s round.
Her team had 32 points to Clark’s 36. If she and her four student teammates got the last question right, they’d win. If four got the right answer, they’d tie; anything less and Clark’s team would be the winners.
The question was – Which popular Disney movie featured a practically perfect nanny that was originally a novel written by P.L. Travers? No one however, got Mary Poppins.
So it came down to the sixth grade question on nutrition – on the diagram of the food pyramid, what does the staircase represent?
The student contestants got the right answer (the different levels of nutrition) but Ridgway admitted she didn’t have a clue.
And so there was tie-breaker question for all the competitors – what chemical do plants need in order to create oxygen?
Every member of both teams answered carbon dioxide.
“OK, that’s it. We have a tie, everybody’s a winner,” Julie exclaimed. “I hope you all had a good time and maybe even learned something.”
“All the students should be congratulated for the things that they did and their accomplishments,” Clark said. “And these kids’ teachers deserve recognition, too.”
“Maddy Taylor and I went online and found questions from the (TV) game show site. She was a great help,” Julie said. “Some were kind of tough. But others, Maddy was like, ‘we know that, we learned that.’ I think everybody had a good time and learned something new. We also got a lot of food donations.”
The drop-off site in the lobby of Bishops Commons will be available throughout the week, she added.