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The history of the Autism Society of the CNMI’s Quiz Nite Trivia Challenge

It all began like thunder clapping in October of 2009 when the Autism Society of the CNMI or ASCNMI under the leadership of President Barbara Merfalen and Vice President Romeo Cuellar. ASCNMI launched the very first Quiz Nite trivial challenge!

Quiz Nite has taken root in our community, and is now an annual event for bragging rights of who knows the most about disabilities, and issues surrounding it, with a healthy and equal mix of totally random trivia.

Since ASCNMI and its partners did not know anything about putting on an event of such great magnitude as this, we had to go to the experts at Wild Bill’s in Garapan with Glen Hunter and Tina Sablan who held a Quiz Night event regularly.

After extensive research into this topic, soliciting from many good folks on island, and securing a venue at a great discount, thanks to Wayne Pangelinan, we finally felt comfortable enough to take the plunge and find out if we had what it took for Quiz Nite.

We set the date into stone for Quiz Nite I or QN1 on December 3rd, 2010, where the great battle of knowledge would play out, culminate brain power and maybe even blow up like the big bang!

So the scene was set in the Royal Taga Ball Room at the World Resort. A mix of teams from all corners of Saipan proudly stepped up to the challenge. From Junior High Students came Team Halitai of Hopwood Junior High with Principal Jonas Barcinas, to Teams like Dr. Ada’s Clinicians. From the beach side, came a team, with Jerry the Entertainer of the Saipan Sunset Cruises to As Terlaje hill side with several teams from the Northern Marianas College who came to play for keeps.

I, unfortunately for everyone was the emcee, and game host, but hey, dinner also came with the event! We had 5 rounds of 10 questions each and 50 percent of all questions had to deal with Autism or other disabilities like “What does ADHD stand for?” The other half were totally random trivial questions such as “where is lake Titicaca?”

In anticipation for unsportsmanlike conduct, we setup stringent rules like “No Rudeness” and “No use of hand held electronic devices.”

Then came, the calm before the storm, as dinner was served and everyone ate, folks began to get excited like a typhoon brewing. 10 minutes before 7 p.m., the teams began to make up their team names and gather together at one table.

Like horses out of the gates, the trivia battle began after the 1st question of round 1!

We had teachers, doctors and lawyers, among other brilliant folks on island battling every which way with each and every question.

The breaks could not have come sooner as tensions were high and each team wanted to win as we heard their voices rise with feverish pitch as they tried to explain why their answer was the correct one. I saw awesome teamwork, and the leading team kept switching every rounds adding and taking away from the hopes of many teams.

Finally, as the end of round 5 approached, the judges were nervous as they had ultimate say in who scored more points and thus winners of QN1. They could only hope that there was no tie.

When the storm cleared, it was Team Apaka, which means “White” in Chamorro raised the 1st place Golden Trophy! Team Apaka was the smallest team, but that did not matter as Attorney Mike White with his lovely wife and one of their grandchildren walked away champions of the very first ASCNMI Quiz Nite. See their picture below:

This began the tradition, and over the next years we have continued this event improving it each time we held a Quiz Nite. QN2 Champions were again Mike White and his team of attorneys who taunted the other teams with the name “Catch us if you can.” QN3 was won by team “One Hullava Knight” who are teachers from Kagman High School and maybe Mount Carmel alumni too.

This year, the stakes are higher than ever before, because Quiz Nite is in its 5th cycle!

Our returning champions from QN4 the Beauties and the Beast’s Diane Zede has met with me and expressed her team’s desire to repeat!

Will our QN4 Champions continue their bragging rights into 2017?

Only one way to figure that out and that is to come and join Quiz Nite V at the Grandvrio Hotel on Saturday April 16th, 2016 from 6pm to 10pm for one of the best trivia challenges around island. Tickets are $30 a piece and include dinner from 6pm to 7pm before Quiz Nite V blows the roof off Grandvrio!

Spectators are welcomed like Mr. Sapuro Rayphand who just watched one year as the drama unfolded.

So, as the secretary of the Autism Society of the CNMI (ASCNMI), I invite you to Quiz Nite V to support autism awareness in our small and beautiful island home.

For tickets and for special accommodations, please call me at 783-6378, or at NMPASI at 235-7273/4, TTY & Fax at 235-7275 or email at tomthornburgh@gmail.com.

Do you have what it takes to be QNV champions? Prove it!

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