Saint Ignatius High School

Brain Brawl

In this day-long Academic Challenge style event, teams of 7th and 8th grade boys and girls battle for the Fr. Larry Ober, S.J. Cup of Knowledge. No other event brings together the best grade schools in the area for one day only to compete for the title of “City Champions.”
For the past eight years, the Brain Brawl competition for grade school teams has proven to be challenging and fun for students and parents alike. Each year, 32 teams compete in eight rounds of trivia for the coveted Fr. Larry Ober, S.J. Cup of Knowledge. The winning team gets their name on the trophy and has it to display at their school for the entire year.

The brainchild of Admissions Director Pat O’Rourke ’90 and math teacher Jon Barker ’87, the competition quizzes students on everything from English to sports, pop culture to mathematics. The two write every question themselves, keeping each year fresh and challenging.

“It’s a fun day for the teams, it’s fun for our faculty and staff that help read and score throughout the day,” says O’Rourke. “It’s great to see students spending their Saturday challenging themselves academically and working together with their teammates toward a common goal.”


The event is free and is open to any area grade schools. To participate, schools need to have moderators and form competitive teams of 7th and 8th grade boys and girls (4-person teams, any mix of girls, boys, 7th or 8th graders is fine, subs are allowed, too – most schools usually bring two subs).  

The day begins at 8:30 a.m. with an Academic Challenge style competition. Teams compete and the championship round will take place around 2:30 p.m.

Lunch is provided for competitors and coaches alike, and all coaches and competitors receive a t-shirt designed by the Saint Ignatius Fine Arts Department. The winner of the Brain Brawl gets to display the prestigious Fr. Ober, S.J. “Cup of Knowledge” on its campus for one year.

No other event brings together the best grade schools in the area for one day only to compete for the title of “City Champions.” The event is run by Admissions Director/Latin Teacher/Hockey Coach Patrick O’Rourke ’90 and Math Teacher/Tennis Coach/Academic Decathlon Moderator Jon Barker '87. It's a fun day for the kids and it mimics the arduous Academic Competitions many of them will compete in during high school, so it's a helpful training tool, as well. 

If your school is interested, please contact Mr. O’Rourke at porourke@ignatius.edu for more information.

Brain Brawl Records

Year Winner - Flight A
2011 St. Thomas More
2012 Lakewood Catholic Academy
2013 Incarnate Word Academy
2014 Lakewood Catholic Academy
2015 St. Christopher
2016 Incarnate Word Academy
2017 St. Raphael
2018 St. Barnabas

Related Opportunities