COLUMBIA, S.C. – “Hello my name is Otiana Thompson. I’m from Claflin University and I’m a freshman. I’m also a double major in African-American Studies and History. I want to give shoutouts to my school, my family, and my friends and to God for giving me this big old brain.” That’s how Otiana “OT” Thompson, a 2019 Ridge View High School graduate, began each episode of the Black College Quiz (BCQ) sponsored by State Farm, in her pursuit of the grand prize. Facing off against 20 other students, Thompson won the competition earlier this month and walked away with an $8,500 scholarship.
Radio and television personality Thomas Miles also known as “Nephew Tommy,” hosted the national quiz show that airs weekly on Bounce TV. Students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) appear on the show to display their knowledge of African-American history and culture.
Thompson says, “I enjoyed competing against some the best and brightest. HBCUs are one the central pillars in our community, and the scholarship and fellowship between our institutions inspires me to continue to defy the odds. The win and representing Claflin University on a national stage means so much to me.” Thompson thanked her coach Dr. Belinda Wheeler, an Associate Professor of English at Claflin University, who helped her prepare for BCQ and appeared on the show with her.
“It was an absolute pleasure working with OT as she studied hard. Her commitment to her extracurricular work was extraordinary. Claflin has never had a student win BCQ before and to have a freshman achieve this is further evidence to the wider community that our institution recruits, retains, and supports our students on and off campus,” said Dr. Wheeler.
Thompson attended Summit Parkway Middle School and competed in the district’s Quiz Whiz tournament that features sixth through eighth graders from all seven of Richland Two’s middle schools. She and her Summit Parkway team, coached by Dr. Allison Benoit and Deborah Robinson, won the 2015 Quiz Whiz tournament. While at Ridge View, Thompson was a student in the Scholars Academy Magnet for Business and Law, served as student body president, and played Varsity Basketball.
Thompson and Dr. Wheeler are now preparing for the 2021 Honda Campus All-Star Challenge.