For the fourth year in a row, a team of students from Palm Desert High School emerged as winners from a field of 11 Coachella Valley high schools during the 15th annual Academic WorldQuest competition at Cal State San Bernardino’s Palm Desert Campus on Feb. 4.
The Palm Desert High School team members included Britney Baez, Jennifer DeLeon, Marian Felipe and Kyna Huang.
After an intense tiebreaker with Xavier College Preparatory High School, the Palm Desert High School team took first place with a score of 41 out of 50. The team will move on to compete against other high school teams throughout the country in the National Academic WorldQuest Competition on April 25 in Washington, D.C.
Xavier College Prep captured second place and Palm Valley School took third place. Scholarships were awarded to each student in the top three teams: first place, $300; second place, $200; and third place, $100.
The most improved award went to Desert Hot Springs High School whose team members won $75 each. The school spirit award for the largest number of supporters in the audience was a tie between West Shores High School and Xavier College Preparatory High School.
Sponsored by World Affairs Council of the Desert, the Academic WorldQuest is a team game that challenges the competitors’ knowledge of world affairs. The topics this year included U.S.-Russia Relations; Preventing Extremism in Fragile States; Oceans: The World’s Garbage Dump; Brexit and the EU; and China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Patrick Evans, meteorologist at KESQ News Channel 3, served as master of ceremony.
This year’s competing high schools also included Coachella Valley High School, Desert Mirage High School, La Quinta High School, Palm Springs High School, Rancho Mirage High School and Shadow Hills High School. Certificates of recognition were presented to all teams by World Affairs Council of the Desert and the office of Congressman Raul Ruiz.
The competition began with a thank you to the event sponsors from Jim McFarlin, president of World Affairs Council of the Desert; an introduction of the judges, coaches and teams; the Posting of the Colors by the California Cadet Corps, Palm Desert High School; the Pledge of Allegiance; and a welcome from Jake Zhu, dean of the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus.
Yul Roe chaired the event, with assistance from Lisa Corbin, Regina Garrison, Gordon Kramer, Sitikantha Mahapatra, Charles Porter, Priscilla Porter, Anissa Rogers and Karen Speros.
Event sponsors included Palm Springs Life and Charles and Priscilla Porter as platinum sponsors; Anderson Children’s Foundation, Chandi Group USA, the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus and Thunderbird Country Club as gold ambassador sponsors; and College of the Desert, County of Riverside, Richard Jennings and UBS Financial Services, Inc. as silver ambassador sponsors.
The CSUSB Palm Desert Campus offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees, a doctorate in educational leadership, and teaching credentials and certificates. With more than 1,600 students, it is the Coachella Valley’s four-year public university and plays a vital role in educating and training the region’s growing population.
For more information about the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus, contact Mike Singer in the Office of Strategic Communication at or (760) 341-2883, ext. 78107, or visit the campus website at