Clark sophomore Eshaan Vakil’s grassroots initiative “Learn Through Quiz Bowl Day” was officially honored on March 3rd, 2018 by Mayor Carolyn Goodman. The initiative is sponsored by Alliance for Academic Quiz Bowl (AAQB), a Nevada nonprofit that Vakil founded while still a middle school student.
Vakil says that he founded Academic Alliance for Quiz Bowl to help foster a love for learning in his school and community. AAQB, in addition to its efforts to create “Learn Through Quiz Bowl Day” also hosts the yearly Middle School Quiz Bowl tournament, which available to middle schoolers across the valley. The competition also welcomes volunteers of all ages. The most recent tournament took place on the same day that Vakil himself, along with his initiative, was honored at City Hall.
“It was a great feeling to be at City Hall to receive the proclamation,” says Vakil, who now serves as the webmaster, social media coordinator, and tournament co-director for AAQB.
Vakil is also the vice president of Clark’s own Varsity Quiz state champion team. Vakil recalled that while speaking with other competitors from around the country at his first National Academic Quiz Tournament in seventh grade, he was surprised by the negative attitude towards quiz bowl in southern Nevada. “When we told them we were from Las Vegas, there were snickers and laughs. Someone passed a comment about how surprised they were that ‘people studied in Las Vegas.’” Motivated by such comments, Eshaan decided to work to change the narrative.
Vakil’s vision of promoting quiz bowl in the city has come to fruition. Through the Alliance for Academic Quiz Bowl and “Learn Through Quiz Bowl Day” Vakil has helped promote the activity as well as honor the top middle school teams in the valley and the coaches who have made significant contributions to the cause. Through Vakil’s work and the help of many others, Academic Alliance for Quiz Bowl is now sponsored by both the City of Las Vegas and the Youth Neighborhood Association Partnership Program. Additionally, AAQB will be hosting a Math Bowl at Mabel Hoggard Elementary School on March 22, 2018, which is currently open to volunteers.
When asked about the impact that AAQB can have on the local community, Vakil had this to say to volunteers and competitors interested in participating in the program: “Not only can you earn volunteer hours and have fun, but you also can help make a lasting influence on students’ lives.”