On April 20, 2023, the Baltimore Curriculum Project (BCP) returned to its in-person annual gala, Are You Smarter Than a BCP Student?
Held at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, this fun event welcomed 200-plus attendees for dinner, drinks, and a fun-filled quiz show featuring a panel of BCP students competing against a panel of local celebrities. Questions were culled from the actual BCP curriculum for two fast-paced rounds emceed by Kai Reed, WBAL-TV anchor and reporter.
Round one pitted 5th grade students from Frederick Elementary, Govans Elementary, and Wolfe Street Academy against Brooke Lierman, State Comptroller and BCP parent, Tony Bridges, Delegate, District 41, and Tracye Carter, Director of Operator Support for Baltimore City Public Schools.
Director of Operator Support for Baltimore City Public Schools
Round two was just as thrilling, with savvy, smart 8th graders from City Springs, Hampstead Hill and Pimlico schools matching wits with Laura Wexler, author and co-producer of The Stoop Storytelling Series, Dr. Shanaysha Sauls, President and CEO of the Baltimore Community Foundation and BCP past parent, and Marlon Amprey, Delegate, District 40.
Both rounds ended in a tie, with the room cheering for every contestant throughout and tables of sponsors trying to guess the answers as well.
What’s it like to be a contestant?
We asked Laura Wexler to share her thoughts on the evening and to determine if she is, indeed, smarter than a BCP student?
When I agreed to participate in the event back in March, I didn’t consider the possibility that I could truly embarrass myself. But on the morning of April 20, this realization hit me hard and I suddenly — and fervently — regretted my decision to voluntarily expose myself to public shame.
When I arrived at the Museum, everyone was enjoying the good food, delicious grapefruit cocktails, and the gorgeous weather. As people laughed and joked and celebrated the schools, students, and staff, I desperately tried to remember something — anything — about algebra, chemistry, and 8th grade social studies. Of course I didn’t want anyone to know I was nervous, so when we gathered outside the museum to take photographs before the competition, I projected confidence. “We’re coming for you,” I joked to contestant Gus Juknevicius, Hampstead Hill, 8th Grade. “Good luck.” He smiled and said he didn’t need luck.
Turns out Gus was right. He and his two fellow teammates did not need luck. When we took our seats and tackled the warmup question, which asked how long Odysseus was away from home during The Odyssey, I was sure it was 25 years. The students picked 20 years. They were correct. I was wrong. I got even more nervous.
Luckily my teammates Marlon Amprey and Dr. Shanaysha Sauls carried our team through the entire match. Marlon answered all the political questions. Shanaysha did algebra on a piece of scrap paper and got us points. We were neck in neck with the students until the final tie-breaker question, which asked us to identify the elements that make up table salt. “NaCl,” I proclaimed, overjoyed to finally contribute.
The 8th graders got that one, too. The whole room cheered for them. I did too, but I was also cheering for myself. Maybe I was almost as smart as an eighth grader.
Thank you to our wonderful sponsors
The event, now in its ninth year, supports the network of BCP’s six neighborhood conversion charter schools, with funds for curricular innovations, programs, field trips, and numerous outreach programs for the City neighborhoods served by BCP schools. Donors were also able to direct their support to their favorite school.
“What a pleasure it was to come together again after four years,” says Laura Doherty, president and CEO of BCP. “We love this opportunity for teachers and the community to come together to enjoy our brilliant students and see some of the leaders in our community having fun with the kids. Our celebrity guests and our students outdid themselves this year. They did not miss one question in spite of some doozies!”
We are deeply grateful to our event sponsors for their generous support: Whiting Turner, Venable, M&T Bank, Care First, Ewing Cole, McGraw Hill, Wellpoint, Coppermine, Nelson Mullins, and Rudolph Supply. Huge thanks to our attendees, panelists, and sponsors for their support.