Eight Coachella Valley high schools competed in the 18th annual Academic WorldQuest competition on Feb. 2.

The event, which took place at the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus, was facilitated and coordinated by Michael Karp, an assistant professor of history at the Palm Desert Campus and member of the Board of Directors of the World Affairs Council of the Desert.

Palm Desert High School took first place. Team members included Tara Bakhshi Dezfuli, Evan Lindemann, Shafaa Munjal, Ian Randolph and Coach Patricia Lizza.

Xavier College Prep captured second place and Rancho Mirage High School took third. The Xavier College Prep team included team members Jake Hermsen, Matthew Jugan, Sarah Macwan, Nicholas Sanders and Coach Tonya Carr. Rancho Mirage High School team members included Elyana Lewis, Paige Foster, Alia Rye, Micaela Sese and Coach Kim Robinson.

After five individual rounds and more than two hours of competing, Palm Desert High School finished on top with a score of 47 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 28-29.

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 Shadow Hills High School, whose team members won $75 each.  

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 Battle of the Century: Autocracy vs. Democracy; Current Events; Economic Sanctions – A Double-Edged Sword; Great Decisions; and The Future of Supply Chains.

This year’s competing high schools also included Coachella Valley High School, Desert Hot Springs High School, Indio High School and La Quinta High School. Certificates of recognition were given to all participating team members.

The competition began with a thank you to the event sponsors and introductions by Ken Bouldin, president of the World Affairs Council of the Desert, and Jake Zhu, dean of the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus. Following their opening remarks, an introduction of the coaches and teams was provided by Charles Porter, who co-founded the desert’s Academic WorldQuest competition with his wife Priscilla Porter.

Michael Karp served as chair for the WorldQuest committee and was assisted by Kim Burge, Lisa Corbin, Tom Headrick, Gordon Kramer, Charles Porter, Priscilla Porter, Karen Speros and John Westerholm. Regina Garrison served as the event chair and coordinator.

Event sponsors included Charles and Priscilla Porter, Barry Berlin and Mary Reisher as platinum sponsors; Irene W. and Guy L. Anderson Children’s Foundation as gold sponsors; and the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus, College of the Desert, UBS Financial Services, Inc., and the Office of V. Manuel Perez of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors and the Walter Clark Legal Group as silver sponsors.

For more information about the Academic WorldQuest, visit the World Affairs Council of the Desert website.

About PDC: The CSUSB Palm Desert Campus offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees, a doctorate in educational leadership, teaching credentials and certificates. Serving more than 2,200 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 msinger@csusb.edu or (760) 341-2883, ext. 78107, or visit the PDC website at www.csusb.edu/pdc.