A look into the smartest club at West.

     The categories team is a little known club, with major brain power. Students compete in a Jeopardy-like games against teams from the other Shawnee Mission and Blue Valley schools.

      “The competitions encompass all topics: sports, science, current events, literature, pop culture, history, math, and more” Pamela Creed, categories’ sponsor, said.

     The team competes at the Indian Creek Technology center with host, John Bartel. The five person teams compete in two rounds. One asks questions to a specific team and the other is a rapid fire round.

“We meet every Monday and quiz each other with trivia questions,” Hannah Wilhelm, senior and categories president, said.

At the Monday meetings the students enjoy cosmic brownies.

“It’s a lot of fun-we say people come for the food, stay for the fun,” Wilhelm said.

The Monday preceding the competition, the categories participants compete among themselves in a quiz-off, to earn their spot to compete for TV. Only five people make the competition team each time.

“Normally we start with around a 20 students pool, then it whittles down to a dozen when the competitions start,” said Creed.

Ali Smith, a first year competitor, joined the team after deciding not to play basketball her senior year.

“It is fun to be on TV, the competition aspect is especially thrilling,” Smith said.

Three-fourths of the way through the season, the team has a record of  1-2. Their lone victory was Shawnee Mission Northwest. The match with Northwest featured many difficult questions, resulting in a low-scoring game.

     Categories episodes are available for viewing on Time Warner Cable 2 (98-2) and 18 (98-18), SureWest channel 18, AT&T U-Verse channel 99, and SMTV online.

Think you have what it takes to keep up with the Categories team? Try out the questions below.


1. Which Storyteller in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales shares his name with the founding father known for his Autobiography and his Almanac?

2. What chef is widely hailed as the king of “designer pizzas”?

3. What college football team meets Texas every year, in the Red River Shootout?

4. It was the city described in Walt Whitman’s poem “Once I Passed Through a Populous City.” In 1848, Whitman spent three months here as editor of the Crescent. What is this southern city, now the site of America’s largest rebuilding project?

5. Name the first man to be knighted for scientific achievements.

6. Though the game was played way back in 1979, it is still the highest-rated college basketball game in TV history. This NCAA Tournament Championship Game featured what two schools represented by “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird?








1. Franklin; 2. Wolfgang Puck; 3. Oklahoma; 4. New Orleans; 5. Sir Isaac Newton; 6. MIchigan State University, Indiana State University