Quiz bowl champ picks TU for her new home

From kindergarten to 12th grade, Jaci Chavey attended school in one building in Drummond, Oklahoma; but inside those four walls, she garnered the academic achievement and leadership experience to be selected for The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence 2017 Academic All-State class. As an incoming TU freshman, Chavey’s numerous awards and volunteer work could fill a résumé, but she is looking to TU to hone her career trajectory.

“My graduating class was 19, and actually, four of us were valedictorians,” Chavey said. With a population of 1,224, Drummond is a country singer’s dream. Chavey quoted the song I’m from the Country, explaining that “everybody knows everybody.”

The small classroom and town were ideal for Chavey to pursue her numerous interests. “Being at a small school lets you get involved in a lot of extracurricular activities. It’s not like a larger school, where you really are supposed to select one thing and stick to it,“ she said. Chavey served as student council president, videographer for the girls’ basketball team, a volunteer physical education teacher, president of FCCLA and a member of the softball team.

Drummond offers many academic outlets, but it is known for its top-tier quiz bowl teams. Competitors prepare to answer questions on topics from chemistry to pop culture. Chavey was the president and fundraising chair; and in 2015, she was a Class A Quiz Bowl Champion. “We’ve competed at nationals in Chicago four times. We have been state runner-up three times and state champions once throughout my high school career,” Chavey said.

This fall, Chavey begins her college career at The University of Tulsa. She is ready to flex her academic muscles in a larger environment as a media studies major. “I have always been fascinated with how news is given to us and how certain stories are presented a certain way to make people feel something,” Chavey explained. “I am interested in the marketing behind that.”

True to her ambitious nature, Chavey has already found a roommate. “We visited campus together in April, and someone came up to us and thought we were life-long friends. We’d just met in person that day,” Chavey confided.

Chavey’s advice for high school students is to visit their top college choices. “You do not know what a college is like until you are there, and you feel the atmosphere,” she cautioned.

Originally, she was concerned that TU was too close to home and the size would be overwhelming. “I was very worried about going to college and being culture shocked. I’m just a little fish in a big pond,” she said. “But here, not only do you get sports and a good education, but you also have a small number of students. You get to be a part of the community with the benefits of a bigger school. Truly, at the end of the day that was the reason I decided to come to TU.”