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Sierra cheerleaders perform in London parade
Four All-American cheerleaders from Sierra High School — Ria Kotecha, Rose Sperbeck, Isabella Martinez, and Jessica Juarez — celebrated the new year in London by performing in the annual New Year’s Day parade. - photo by Photo Contributed

Most involved with Lathrop High’s annual Brain Bowl were aware of the S.S. Minnow.

That’s the name of the wrecked ship on the uncharted desert island better known as “Gilligan’s Island.”

They also knew about the famous penitentiary, Alcatraz, which was closed earlier in the 1960s.

And that “West Side Story,” in 1961, featuring the street gangs Jets and the Sharks was a musical based on William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.

‘LHS Academic Decathlete students, in preparation for the upcoming Super Quiz — the Academic Decathlon event will again take place on the LHS campus on Feb. 2, featuring the Manteca High, Sierra High as well as schools from Tracy Unified and Stockton Unified — went up against members of the school staff.

“It’s a fun competition,” said Michael Pangburn, who is one of the LHS AcaDec coaches. “It mirrors the Super Quiz of the Academic Decathlon.”

It wasn’t too long ago that LHS tied MHS in the Super Quiz for first place. “That was my sophomore year,” said senior Noel Ojeda, who recalled that the theme for that year was World War II.

This year’s theme is the 1960s.

“We thought that maybe the teachers might have an advantage,” Ojeda said following his team’s 109-103 loss. “But we held our own.”

Hillary Pangburn, who is also an LHS AcaDec coach and English teacher, announced the series between the two Brain Bowl counterparts is now tied 2-2.

The teachers, for their part, claimed ownership of the Global Brain Bowl Trophy for this year.

“Even though we lost, it was fun,” said Ojeda, who enjoyed the role-reversal of sort in watching his teachers being quizzed.

Included was his Math teacher Jeff Baldwin, who admitted that he fared better answering the multiple choice questions covering art, literature, music, social studies, math, science, and general knowledge, to name a few, as a spectator rather than a participant.

Teams of three went head-to-head for six rounds.

Some students received extra credits or Spartan Savage Points just for attending Brain Bowl 2019 held in the LHS Theater.

Science question consisted of those knowing — or not knowing — that metals appear dull when their surface resists distribution.

In Social Studies, students outpointed teachers, 3-1, knowing that, in this case, the First World and Second World referred to the divisions of the Cold War.

In Pop Art, teachers outpointed students, 3-0, getting the correct answer of plaster (clay and aluminum were among the other choices) of encasing the original form when creating a cast.

In Science, both sides got it right knowing that in July 20, 1969 that Apollo 11 launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“We may have been lived through some of these events, but we were concerned that we could still mess it up,” said Baldwin, speaking on behalf of the teachers.

To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail