SCHWEINFURT, Germany (June 5, 2013) -- Tensions ran high at office water coolers around the garrison last Friday. But it wasn't an uncertain employment forecast, nor the looming furlough or eventual garrison closure that raised stress levels. No, for a handful of recognizable garrison staff -- both civilian and Soldier -- they had to match wits with some of the brainiest middle school students in a public forum.
Six adult community members competed against some of the brightest fifth- and sixth-graders from Schweinfurt Elementary/Middle School May 24 in a trivia game based on a popular quiz game show called "Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?".
"I watched the movie Rocky the night before because I knew this was going to be a fight," said Sgt. First Class Bryan Bearor, the Schweinfurt garrison chaplain non-commissioned officer in charge.
But asked whether he was scared or had butterflies prior to the competition, "No comment" was all he said.
"I didn't prepare. I was hoping that my time as a fifth-grader would suffice," said Artis Baskins, the director of the garrison's operations office. "But I failed. I think I would have let my old fifth-grade teachers down."
The academic bowl-style competition consisted of two teams, pitting adult community members against fifth- and sixth-grade students, who earned spots after winning a series of try-outs, said Dan Wilson, a fifth-grade science teacher who, along with the Parent Teacher Student Association, organized the event.
Representing the fifth grade were Corey Majerus, Samantha Ringlbauer and Auriela Ozuna, while Taylor Bare, Alex Chang and Olga Morales represented the sixth grade.
The adult team included Ledward Librarian Christine Willis, Sean Hillyer of the 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, Maj. Victor Deekens with the 72nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion, Baskins, the operations director, and Bearor and Chaplain Michael Oliver -- both with the garrison chapel.
Questions were collected from teachers at both grade levels from material that had been covered in this year's standards, which included math, social studies, science, language arts, literature, music, art, health and physical education.
"Dan Wilson the science teacher rigged the competition," quipped Chaplain (Capt.) Michael Oliver. "There were way too many science questions."
At least one garrison employee contacted school officials to obtain insider information on the questions, according to a source close to the school who asked to remain anonymous.
"I'm a college-educated individual, and so were others on our team," said Sean Hillyer of his adult team. "I didn't think this would be a problem."
Hillyer and his team were sorely mistaken.
The students took an early and demanding lead, leaving the community team hopeless from the start. After an hour of questions, with hit-and-miss answers, students prevailed outscoring their more "mature" opponents 43-31, earning themselves certificates of appreciation and AAFES gift cards.
"Next year I want to compete again," said Oliver. "I'm going to study a full month before the competition. They're going down."
"I look forward to next year," said Baskins. "I just hope we get to face fourth-graders instead."