In a tightly contested finals round at the 35th National Junior Bible Quiz (JBQ) Festival on Saturday, which saw four teams finish tied for fourth at 5-4 and three teams finish tied for first at 6-3, it was Calvary Church of Naperville, Illinois, winning the title on points.
Calvary Church’s cumulative Saturday scores over nine matches edged the JBQ Jedis of Hibbing, Minnesota, by a mere 20 points — each JBQ question being worth 10, 20 or 30 points, depending on difficulty — to claim the title, with the Super Smash Brothers of Red Oak, Texas, taking third.
Christian Alapati of Mustang, Oklahoma, was the top overall quizzer, earning 3,440 points for his team. Josiah Lapusan of Red Oak, Texas, was second with 3,085 points; and Caleb Karthik of Gahanna, Ohio, was third with 3,000 points.
Following the 2020 cancellation of the national festival due to the pandemic, the 2021 festival held in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, June 10-12, still required plenty of flexibility to accomplish.
According to Todd Papendick, assistant coordinator of the National JBQ Festival and JBQ coordinator at Calvary Church, many churches didn’t start their JBQ programs until weeks or even months after the typical start date of September — if they started them at all.
“We had quite a number of churches across the country — and especially in the Northeast and Northwest — who, due to COVID restrictions, didn’t have as many teams or any teams at all this year,” Papendick says. “And unlike most years, quiz meets didn’t start until January this year. However, what that made for was a lot of parity and great competition as the national festival finals suggest.”
Team members for Calvary Church’s championship team include Mariel Parra, Pierce Stevens, Shekinah Biruduganti, Jayden Suresh, and Elizabeth Siony. The coaches for the team were Scott Papendick and Jeff Papendick, Todd’s brothers. It’s the sixth national JBQ title for Calvary Church.
Todd says that typically Calvary Church has several teams, but due to the pandemic, fewer children participated, so only one team “with a lot of depth” was created.
“I really believe having only one team helped us overall,” Todd says. “We had a lot of quizzers that could do a lot of things and who were ready to sacrifice and work for the team – we weren’t just dependent on one or two quizzers.”
Also, due to pandemic restrictions — and to the disappointment of officials, coaches, and quizzers — the annual Friday evening worship service could not be held. However, Papendick says that God’s presence was still evident.
“A pretty cool story was relayed to me,” Papendick says, making note how even the points from one question can make a big difference in a team’s finish. “A quizzer inadvertently saw a question prior to it being asked, so he had an advantage when buzzing in and answering the question. Upon answering the question correctly and being awarded the points, he declared a ‘point of order,’ informing the quiz master of his unintentional advantage (that no one else was aware of) and that he should not be awarded the points. Now, that’s integrity and honesty walking under the covering of God.” Interestingly enough, the same quizzer then proceeded to quiz-in and answer the next four questions correctly.
The two days of quizzing for the 2021 event took place at Summit Christian Academy, with the opening ceremony and closing awards ceremony held at Crown Pointe Church, both in Lee’s Summit. A total of 64 JBQ teams competed at the national festival.
The dates for the 2022 National JBQ Festival have already been secured — June 9-11 — however, the location is still being finalized. Once the location details are confirmed, the information will be posted to the festival website. The festival website also has a listing of the top 100 individual scorers and the Facebook page features a video of the awards presentation ceremony, recognizing and honoring each team that participated in the national festival.
“There were a lot of teams facing challenges throughout the year and even some glitches for staff at the national festival,” Papendick says. “But we knew that God had us in His hands and that we were good to go, whatever came our way.”