Indiana Insight

GREENFIELD — High school students across the state have been hitting the books to learn more about Hoosier history.

The Indiana Academic Super Bowl, conducted Tuesday at 21 sites across the state, including Greenfield-Central High School, celebrated two anniversaries — the 30th super bowl competition and Indiana’s bicentennial.

To celebrate the state’s 200th birthday, all of the night’s questions focused on Indiana. There were six categories: English, mathematics, social studies, science, fine arts and interdisciplinary.

Twelve school districts participated in the event at Greenfield-Central, including four teams representing each of the county’s school districts.

At Tuesday’s event, three Hancock County schools qualified for the state competition, which will be May 7 at Purdue University. Eastern Hancock High School’s math team qualified, as did Mt. Vernon High School’s interdisciplinary team. Greenfield-Central qualified for the state competition in three categories — science, social studies and interdisciplinary — a feat which fine arts and English coach Jill Jenkins said is a first for the school’s team.

Greenfield-Central has been hosting the event for at least a decade, Jenkins said.

Questions about Hoosier heritage encouraged high school students to learn about Indiana art, history and the state’s physical features, topics students and teachers said they don’t often get to learn about in high school.

The 17 Greenfield-Central students who participated worried the narrow focus of the academic event might be boring, but it wasn’t, Jenkins said. Her students especially enjoyed the art and music categories, she said.

Greenfield-Central senior Tyler Combs, who is the captain of the English, social studies and interdisciplinary teams, said he welcomed the opportunity to learn more about his home state, and he was pleased to be a part of the group sending three teams to state for the first time.

“I was nervous going into the competition, as we just got back from spring break a few weeks ago and thus haven’t had much practice lately,” he said in an email to the Daily Reporter. “However, this just made our fantastic showings even more amazing.”

For the English round, members of the academic super bowl teams read the book “The Magnificent Ambersons,” by Orson Welles, as well as a short story by Kurt Vonnegut and poetry by Mari Evans and James Whitcomb Riley, all authors with ties to the Hoosier state. The science round had questions about aeronautics, Indy cars and Indiana geography.

The fine arts round focused on music, painting and sculpture by Hoosier artists and musicians with some famous names — from Hoagy Carmichael to Jelly Roll Morton and David Baker, the Indiana University jazz composer who died this March.

Learning about fellow Hoosiers makes the questions more meaningful, said Alyson Zelenzik, Mt. Vernon High School English coach.

The Mt. Vernon fine arts team took home an academic superbowl championship earlier this spring for the Hoosier Heritage Conference, and the school nabbed two first place prizes in Tuesday’s competition, said Jennifer Sherbak, Mt. Vernon’s fine arts coach. She couldn’t be prouder of her team, she said.

“We have a goal to learn as much about the subject as possible and have fun learning, and we definitely achieved that goal,” Sherbak said.

The champions
Class 1 area champions:


English: Pendleton Heights High School 

Science: Greenfield-Central High School 

Fine Arts: Pendleton Heights High School 

Social Studies: Greenfield-Central High School 

Math: Mt. Vernon High School 

Interdisciplinary: Mt. Vernon High School 


Class 3 area champions:


English: Eastern Hancock High School 
Science: Eastern Hancock High School 
Fine Arts: Knightstown High School 
Social Studies: Eastern Hancock High School 
Math: Eastern Hancock High School 
Interdisciplinary: Eastern Hancock High School 


Class 4 area champions:

English: Daleville High School 

Science: Indiana Academy 
Fine Arts: Daleville High School 
Social Studies: Indiana Academy 
Math: Indiana Academy 
Interdisciplinary: Indiana Academy 
Author photo
Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or