St George’s University – Ten Years Setting the Pace for Future Successes!

It’s an accomplishment that many did not expect; the St. George’s University (SGU) Knowledge Bowl – the most stimulating academic event known to third through fifth formers on the island – has turned ten!

Over one decade ago – the year 2003 to be precise – a SGU staff member  had a dream, a dream for the university to host an inter-secondary school competition that would serve as a tool to prepare students for exams at the Caribbean  Examinations Council level.

But without partnership and shared vision, it would not be done. So for the rest of 2003 into 2006, much dedication was placed into getting the ‘green light’ from the Ministry of Education and securing as many partners  as necessary  to make  this dream come true.

Colin Dowe, Assistant Dean of Enrollment Planning for Caribbean Admissions at the SGU, was that dreamer and he recalls how Flow’s Community Channel 6 (CC6) became part of the picture.

“Community Channel 6 was airing the School’s Challenge Quiz in Jamaica,” he recalled.

“And they approached the St. George’s University to sponsor the quiz but we said “we don’t want to sponsor a quiz; we want to put on a quiz’,” said Dowe laughing.  It was from then that the SGU-CC6 partnership began to strengthen, until it created what we know as the SGU Knowledge Bowl.

Today, this dynamic duo, together with a number of faithful sponsors, has successfully produced nine seasons of the Knowledge Bowl and is currently working on its tenth.

Columbus Communications (Flow) Country Manager and co-founder, Gail Purcell, says it has not been without its fair share of hurdles.   “We had to visit every school personally and explain our vision to each school to get them on board and some were a bit reluctant” she also recalled.

In spite of the initial hiccups, the Knowledge Bowl fever eventually caught on and continues to spread, and this is worthy of recognition, says Mrs. Purcell.




“This is our tenth anniversary and we think it’s something to celebrate”, she said.

For the past 10 years, the “Intercol of Academia” has been bringing students from over 17 secondary schools around the island to test their knowledge of the secondary school curriculum as well as current affairs, topics to increase their examination preparedness and assist in their development as well rounded individuals.

The co-founders say although it is satisfying to see the champions’ faces as they receive their prizes, what  is and continues to be most rewarding to them is the impact the competition has been having in  the students’ academic performance at the Caribbean Secondary School  Certificate (CSEC ) Exams.

“The results can be seen,” Mr. Dowe said, as he referred to the various success stories reported by past Knowledge Bowl contestants over the years, “…they would all say that the early start, in terms of revising, that was forced them to prepare for the SGU Knowledge Bowl was a huge contributing factor to their success”.

Mrs. Purcell said the SGU – CC6 team’s hopes are big for the competition in the future.  “The tenth for us is a marking of where will be going ten years from now” she said. “It is really about future planning, development and setting ourselves on a track that is going to guide how this competition continues to grow. We have a vision where we see this academic performance at the Caribbean Secondary School  Certificate (CSEC ) Exams.

“The results can be seen,” Mr. Dowe said, as he referred to the various success stories reported by past Knowledge Bowl contestants over the years, “…they would all say that the early start, in terms of revising, that had forced them to prepare for the SGU Knowledge Bowl was a huge contributing factor to their success”.

Mrs. Purcell said the SGU – CC6 team’s hopes are big for the competition in the future.  “The tenth for us is a marking of where we will be going ten years from now” she said. “It is really about future planning, development and setting ourselves on a track that is going to guide how this competition continues to grow. We have a vision where we see this competition going beyond local to see a spin-off in every island”.

At this point it is quite fitting to say congratulations to all the winners from 2006 to 2014 – St. Joseph Convent St. George’s (2006,2009 and 2013); Grenada Boys Secondary (2007); Anglican High School (2008); Westmorland Secondary (2011) and Presentation Brothers College (2010, 2012 and 2014).

Grenada is anxious to see which school will emerge as champion in 2015.

In the meanwhile we will continue to tune into CC6 on Tuesdays and Thursdays to root for our favourite contestants and shout out answers in a game-show like frenzy.

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