Bennie and the Jets will divide $2,000 in scholarship money following the 15th annual Grand Island School and Business Corporate Bowl, held Tuesday night at the Grand Island High School auditorium.
The team, consisting of seniors Lydia Bernatovicz, Sam Clarke, Courtney Collignon, and Bridget Kennedy, were the winners after semifinals and the championship match in the competition that matched teams in tests of academic knowledge in a quiz show format.
The victory, however, can be attributed not only to buzzing in first with the right answer, but in what the winners called "very strategic team planning" that had its genesis after Clarke and Kennedy's Corporate Bowl team last year didn't make it into the money.
"Last year we didn't even make it to the finals ..." Kennedy said. "... because we lost to Lydia," Clarke added.
"We lost to Lydia, so we got her on our team this year," Kennedy said.
It was Clarke, the "Bennie" of the winning quartet (minus the electric boots and mohair suit), who recruited Bernatovicz to the team (named after the popular Elton John song).
"We owe it to Lydia. I got to her first before other people put her on their team," Clarke said.
The move paid off after Bernatovicz rattled off a string of correct answers at the start of the final round of the championship match against Do You Have a Name? and The Team on the way to winning with 130 points.
"Apparently, I'm in very high demand," Bernatovicz said. "I think the key is to get a balance, because I know they have bio and chem stuff that I had the sophomore year, and I have just completely forgotten most of that."
In second place, splitting $1,000 ($250 each) was The Team (80 points), featuring Kamra Phillips, Pam Slattery, Jodie White and Shamus Johnson. Do You Have a Name? (20 points), composed of Eric Dudley, Sara Cichon, Kurt Laschinger, and Alex Garey, four sophomores, will divide $600 ($150 each).
In the first semifinal match, Bennie and the Jets (130 points) beat Les Petits Chouchou (55 points) and Too Sharp (0 points). In the second semifinal match, the sophomore team of Do You Have a Name (90 points) shocked two senior teams, We Have Potential (85 points) and Justice League (20 points). In the third semifinal, The Team (115 points) beat We Don't Want Him (45 points) and KHEM (20 points).
Corporate Bowl is a freeroll for students - scholarship money with no applications to fill out or transcripts to submit - thanks to teachers, administrators and GISBA board members who helped organize and work the event, as well as all the school staff, local businesses and government officials who contributed their time, effort, and money to the program.
"It's great for them to do for us, because it gives us a way to earn extra money for college," Collignon said.
"I think it's really a testament to the teachers and to the business community that we can put on such a great program that allows students to show off, and allows the business to help support the school," Bernatovicz add.