Trio conquers competition at Black365 Knowledge Bowl

Black Knowledge Bowl 2013 1

(L to R) Black365 Knowledge Bowl founder Jamaal Brown; winners Jalynn Davis, Mercy Petz and Lesly Petz; team coach Gail Davis.

PALMDALE – Jalynn Davis, and sisters Mercy and Lesly Petz, scored a hard-won victory Saturday afternoon at the Black365 Knowledge Bowl competition.

The Palmdale High School trio, who dubbed themselves “Conquerors,” pulled ahead early in the competition and never looked back.

Judging by their winning performance, it was hard to believe that the team had been together for less than a week.

“My other team flaked on me,” said Team Captain Jalynn Davis. “They (Mercy and Lesly Petz) bailed me out and we did crunch time for two days straight.”

The audience was engrossed in the "Jeopardy-style" competition.

The audience was engrossed in the “Jeopardy-style” competition.

Their cramming paid off, and the Palmdale High School Conquerors walked away with the winning trophies and cash prizes.

Second place in the competition went to SOAR High School’s “Jungle Fever” team, which included juniors Khalil Small, Tyler Williamson, Eduardo Mayorga and Tyriek Lane. Third place honors went to SOAR Prep Academy, whose team was called “The Who?” and consisted of four eighth graders – Tammy Le, Genelle Nkwocha, Arianna Hernandez, and Cassidy De La Torre. The “Lady Saints” from Locke High School #2 in Los Angeles placed fourth and included seniors, Daisy Melgar and Elizabeth Castorena, and junior, Auzzsa Eaton.

Now in its third year, the Black365 Knowledge Bowl is a “Jeopardy-style” competition where students from different schools face off to test their knowledge of Black history.

“What we are calling Black history is truly the missing pages of world history,” said founder Jamaal Brown.

This year’s competition tested the students’ knowledge in a number of subject areas in world history. Categories included Living Legends, Conscious Quotations, Outstanding Women, African Flags, Who Am I, Famous Firsts and Did You Know.

Brown said the event was a success by all accounts.

The competition consisted of college-level questions.

The competition consisted of college-level questions.

“The difficulty of the questions was higher than ever before, audience participation was higher than ever before, we had more sponsors than ever before,” Brown said. “Everything about this Knowledge Bowl exceeded previous years.”

The victors of this year’s Knowledge Bowl also exceeded expectations, because they did it all without the support of their school. Having been a fan of the competition since its inception, Davis approached Brown to join this year’s competition, but Brown told her she needed to get a coach from her high school. Davis was unable to get a coach from Palmdale High School, so her mom, Gail Davis, stepped in as the team’s coach. Though the team fell apart in the days before the competition, the newly constructed team rebounded to clinch victory.

For the Palmdale High School Conquerors, it was the victory of a lifetime.

“This is one thing I always remember, I will never forget this,” said Lesly Petz.

“We got to learn more information about African American history and it will stick with me forever,” said Davis.

Brown said the Black365 Knowledge Bowl is accepting sponsorships to aid in the cost of producing next year’s event, and to eventually host regional competitions that culminate in a national Black365 Knowledge Bowl competition. To donate to this cause, visit

Four teams from four different schools competed in the 2013 Black365 Knowledge Bowl.

Four teams from four different schools competed in the 2013 Black365 Knowledge Bowl.

SOAR High School's "Jungle Fever" team placed second.

SOAR High School’s “Jungle Fever” team placed second.

SOAR Prep Academy's "The Who?" team placed third.

SOAR Prep Academy’s “The Who?” team placed third.

Locke High School's "Lady Saints" team placed fourth.

Locke High School’s “Lady Saints” team placed fourth.