Empowering young Maine students to build a brighter future . . . for themselves and for their communities.

Maine College Knowledge Bowl 2019 was hosted by Bowdoin College.



Online College Crossword

What is the Maine College Knowledge Bowl and why is it offered?
• It is a fun competition that has excited young students throughout Maine about the opportunity of higher education since 2010.
• It helps young students develop a better understanding of the opportunity of higher education and helps them gain useful information about college and colleges.
• It increases conversation in their school and community about the opportunity of higher education.
• It celebrates the aspirations of young Maine students.
• Interested teams participate in regional competitions, onsite or online, before February 15.


March 27, 2012

Brownville Elementary and Sebasticook Valley Middle School Champs Again

For the second year in a row, a team of four students from Brownville Elementary School has won the Maine College Knowledge Bowl. The event is held each spring and asks students to answer a wide range of questions about college, colleges, college majors, and careers after college.

This year, the event was hosted by Colby College and their Goldfarb Center. At the end of a morning of competition, Colby provided all competitors with a great lunch in the college dining hall. The event is organized each year by the nonprofit Maine College Circle.

“The event has the dressing of a small and fun event, but its impact on these students and their aspirations is not small at all,” says Bob Stuart, director of Maine College Circle. “Students don’t aspire to college or post-secondary education. They aspire to success in a particular career, and if we are smart, we can help them aspire to a path to get them there.

“These elementary school students from Brownville, and the middle school students from Sebasticook Valley Middle School, and many other students competing from throughout the state, know more about college and colleges and college majors than 99% of high school seniors in the country. I think that is significant. Students aspire when they have information and can see a path. They don’t aspire to what they don’t know.

“These students know about DigiPen Institute of Technology to study video game design and that EMCC has a very strong automotive technology program. They know the names of colleges with strong equestrian studies programs. They know what a FAFSA form is and what NextGen is. They know a college in Vermont with a strong meteorology program and where Vince Wilfork and Susan Collins and Stephen King and John Cena went to college. It may seem trivial to some, but for these students in communities that generally have less exposure to the opportunity of higher education, it is huge.

“And, for those who are wondering how these kids from Brownville, Maine won, the answer is that their school and their community were very supportive. There is a goal for all communities.”

Last year’s winning team from Brownville competed against a team of Colby students and won. A team from Bowdoin Central School competed against their school board and won.

For more information, contact Bob Stuart at bstuart@mainecollegecircle.org or BJ Bowden at Brownville Elementary School at bjbowden@msad41.us.

April 29, 2011 -- Brownville Bears Trounce Colby Students in College Knowledge Bowl

Six 5th and 6th grade students from Brownville Elementary School in Brownville, Maine trounced six Colby College students in a College Knowledge Bowl at Colby College this morning. Despite a humiliating first ten minutes of the competition, Colby students battled back to tie the score at 118 apiece. From that point on the Brownville Bears never looked back, with a final score of 404 to 215.

After winning the state championship in the elementary school division at Husson University in March, the undefeated Brownville Bears sought more competition, but haven't found it yet. The Colby students were first to the buzzer on questions like identifying the Colby College mascot and the name for a college teacher (begins with a p), but the Brownville Bears owned the buzzer and the championship with answers to questions like the name of a popular college entrance exam for east coast students, the college of John Cena, the university of Adam Sandler and Lady Gaga, , the college major to study earthquakes, and the primary major at Cosmotech.

After the event, the defeated Colby students purchased Colby College t-shirts for the Brownville Bears, and took them on a tour of the campus, with a visit to science labs and a conversation with a live college teacher (begins with a p), followed by unlimited lunch in the dining hall, complete with pizza and ice cream.

The event was organized by Cassady Roberts, a Colby student; BJ Bowden, school counselor in Brownville; and Maine College Circle, a Maine-based nonprofit supporting the opportunity of higher education throughout Maine.

After lunch the Brownville Bears got back in their van to head back to Brownville and to search for more competition. Upon returning to their school, the Brownville Bears were greeted with a huge banner over the front door congratulating the team on their victory. The humbled Colby students had no comment.

Maine College Knowledge Bowl, 2011

Congratulations to the students from Brownville Elementary School and from Sebasticook Valley Middle School for winning the 2011 Maine College Knowledge Bowl at Husson University on March 11, 2011!

And, congratulations to the Brownville Bears for their victory over Colby College and to the Bowdoin Central School team for impressing and beating their school board!

Lagrange Elementary and Sebasticook Valley Middle School Show They Have the Answers for the Future
On Saturday, March 20, 2010, elementary and middle school students from 14 teams throughout Maine competed in the first Maine College Knowledge Bowl in Newport. Four students from Lagrange Elementary School beat teams from central, southern, and eastern Maine to the buzzer as they answered a wide range of questions testing their knowledge of college, college majors, and colleges worldwide. The team from Sebasticook Valley Middle School was equally successful at answering a majority of over 280 questions.

The goal of the Maine College Knowledge Bowl is to help students develop their knowledge of the opportunities of higher education and hopefully create some community conversation around it. "We can't ask students to aspire to what they don't know. Information is step one. Creating some excitement for the opportunities is step two. Today, US students will accomplish as much in their education as they want to." said Bob Stuart, the Director of Maine College Circle, the Yarmouth-based nonprofit that organizes the competition and promotes the opportunity of higher education to K - 12 students statewide.

"It says a lot that the students from Lagrange Elementary, in one of the most economically challenged communities in the state, spent the time, with parent and teacher help, to learn the answers to these questions. The interest and aspirations are there, if we will help them grow." said Stuart. "All of the teams were really amazing. They knew more answers than I did, and I made up the questions!"

The winning teams receive $1000 awards to be spent to build aspirations for higher education at their elementary and middle school and in their community. But it comes with one condition, the winning teams must engage their school board in a discussion of how to spend the money to boost aspirations. It must be a community decision, but the students come to the table with the money.

"The great part of the day was the number of parents there to watch," said BJ Bowden, guidance counselor at Lagrange Elementary. "Parent support is what I have been working on for three years. Most of these students will be first generation college students. They are already asking if they can be on this fall's team. They are already planning to meet with their school board. They are already planning to visit the University of Maine campus in Orono. I love when kids are motivated. The Maine College Knowledge Bowl was proof of what they can accomplish."

A few of the over 280 questions students answered at last week's Maine College Knowledge Bowl include:

  • What is the name of a popular Washington state college to study video game design?
  • What is the closest vet school to Maine?
  • What is the product of a culinary arts major?
  • What college did John Cena attend?
  • What New York university did Senator Susan Collins attend?
  • In what city will you find UCLA?
  • What is the name of Maine's 529 college savings program?
  • In what town will you find Washington County Community College?
  • Name a Bangor college with a strong automotive technology program.
  • What is the first Maine college in the alphabet?
  • What is the home state of Purdue University?
  • What is the name for a college major in the study of diseases?
  • What college did Barack Obama attend in 13th grade?

See a practice College Crossword.