Diocesan Religion Bee team earns third at state

The Davenport Diocese’s Religion Bee team placed third at the state Religion Bee tournament April 26 at Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids. Pictured are, front row, from left, Porter Vopatek and Trinity Tague of St. Joseph Catholic School in DeWitt. Back row, Faith Petersen of the DeWitt school and Sofia Contreras and Eric Fletcher of Regina Catholic Education Center in Iowa City.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — A team of middle schoolers from the Diocese of Davenport recently placed third in the inaugural state Religion Bee.
Members of the diocesan team — Porter Vopatek, Trinity Tague and Faith Petersen of St. Joseph Catholic School in DeWitt and Sofia Contreras and Eric Fletcher of Regina Catholic Education Center in Iowa City — qualified from the regional competition in March.

Four teams — one from each Iowa diocese/archdiocese — went head to head at Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa April 26. The team from the Archdiocese of Dubuque took the top prize.

Statewide organizer Zach Zeckser, chief administrator and middle school principal of LaSalle Catholic in Cedar Rapids, introduced the Religion Bee in the Archdiocese of Dubuque six years ago, borrowing the idea (and some of the questions, with permission) from the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis, where he previously worked. He invited the other three dioceses — Davenport, Des Moines and Sioux City — to join in the fun this year.

“It was a great experience to represent St. Joe’s at the religion bee,” said Porter Vopatek, a seventh-grader. “I’m proud of how our team did and I’m looking forward to doing even better next year.


Eric Fletcher, a Regina eighth-grader, said he enjoyed participating in the Bee. To prepare, he studied a packet of religion questions and reviewed Bible stories. His religion teacher, Laurie Boland, helped by quizzing him. “We didn’t really know what to expect since it was the first time for us to participate in something like this,” Boland said. “Now that we have done it once, we can better prepare for next year by reviewing and incorporating more religion trivia-type questions in our lessons throughout the year. The students had a good time participating and enjoying the process. We look forward to doing it again.”

Sofia Contreras, a Regina seventh-grader, said the Bee helped her understand how much history is contained in the “everlasting and eternal” Catholic Church. “I think it’s so surprising and interesting.” She hopes the Bee continues in future years and encourages other youths to learn about the Catholic faith.

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