Erskine College welcomed its first recruit for the school’s inaugural quiz bowl team with a “signing day” event Feb. 17. Gabriel Collier, son of Rusty and Courtney Collier of Holly Hill, S.C., and a senior at Clarendon Hall School in Summerton, accepted an Erskine scholarship and became the first signee for Erskine’s quiz bowl team—and he is “elated.”
Gabriel came to the attention of the Erskine admissions staff through the state quiz bowl competition hosted by the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA).
“While Gabriel’s team did not win their regional competition, his poise and exuberance shone through and we contacted him about participating on Erskine’s first quiz bowl team,” Dean of Admissions Dr. Tim Rees says.
Erskine’s quiz bowl team is expected to begin competing in tournaments this fall, and for Rees, the academic signing event—the first of its kind in the history of Clarendon Hall, Erskine College, and SCISA—makes sense. “We are pursuing our quiz bowl recruits in much the same way athletes are pursued,” he says. “Academic ability should be prized just as highly as athletic ability.”
Rusty Collier says his son was uncertain about the Due West school, but once he visited the campus, “he was all in for Erskine.”
Students and faculty, along with Gabriel’s family, representatives from SCISA, and members of the Erskine College admissions staff gathered in Clarendon Hall’s gymnasium for the signing event.
Clarendon Hall Head of School Kelley Wannamaker offered some anecdotes about Gabriel, who is a member of the National Honor Society and president of the Saints Student Government Association at Clarendon, then said, “The Clarendon Hall family is proud to recognize Gabriel Collier’s academic achievements through this event, which validates his hard work and the dedication of his past and present teachers.”
Also speaking at the signing event was Robert Braciszewski, Student Activities Director for SCISA. “Celebrating academic successes as well as athletic achievements ensure student recognition across our entire state,” he said. “The South Carolina Independent School Association is so proud of Gabriel for this incredible achievement and honor. We are looking forward to this new relationship with Erskine College for many years to come.”
Gabriel Collier is excited about quiz bowl competition and about Erskine. Recalling the COVID-related disruption of quiz bowl activities during the past year, he says he “had little hope that I would compete one last time” at the high school level. He is thankful he was able to participate in the state tournament hosted by SCISA and to be introduced to Erskine College.
“It is such an honor to be offered a scholarship to be on a collegiate quiz bowl team, and I would like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for giving me the knowledge and ability to compete in a quiz bowl tournament and for this great opportunity,” Gabriel says. “Words cannot fully explain how I feel, but I am elated, and I look forward to God’s plan from here.”
Pictured above are Gabriel Collier, center, and his parents, Courtney and Rusty Collier.