Multi-generation trivia night wins for a rural school and community

To connect teens with adults, Northwood Public School along with a community healthcare partner held its first Multi-Generation Trivia Night with 14 teams participating. Katie Pinke was a part of the last-place team and shares the wins she still experienced between friends and three generations of her family.

Elizabeth Pinke, 14, and her grandfather, Eldon, participated in the first Multi-Generation Trivia Night at Northwood Public School on Nov. 15, 2022. Each team included at least one Northwood student from grades 7-12 with a mix of multiple generations on each team, bringing together adults and teens for a night of trivia with locally sponsored prizes and supper.
Katie Pinke / Agweek
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I rarely celebrate finishing in last place; not even in my brothers’ intense fantasy football league have I finished last, yet. But this past Tuesday night, I was a part of a last-place team and count the full experience as a win.

Our team finished last place in a new event, That’s My Generation Trivia Night, at Northwood Public School in rural North Dakota. Northwood Deaconess Health Center sponsored and served supper to all attendees ahead of time. Area businesses supported door prizes and winning team prizes.

Our last-place team of six didn’t win anything. We risked a lot of points at the end to try to catch up, but our attempt failed and we finished in 14th place out of 14 teams. Teams of six consisted of at least one Northwood student from grades 7-12 and the rest of the team could be made up of a mix of generations.

In my 25 years of parenting, trivia at school was a first of its kind for me. I’ve been a part of hundreds of school games, concerts, programs, and conferences, but never a trivia night. Was it fun? Absolutely. I hope the event returns annually, and maybe by then I will have improved my pop culture trivia skills.

I asked Sarah Burger, Northwood High School Principal how the multi-generation trivia night event idea was organized.


“This started as a drive to get the community together and also get parents and other important adults in our students' lives into the building and also interacting with their teens. We brainstormed and came up with this trivia idea, and then we reached out to partner with NDHC, as strong community health is also a goal of theirs. Our school leadership team worked out the details. We are hoping to do some other community things this year,” said Burger.

Connecting generations through trivia teams brought adults to teens together for a night at the Northwood Public School. The event started as "a drive to get the community together and also get parents and other important adults in our students' lives into the building and also interacting with their teens," said Northwood High School Principal Sarah Burger. More community events will be planned for the school year.
Katie Pinke / Agweek

During the competition, I looked to the right of me at the table during our trivia night. Our ninth-grade daughter, Elizabeth, 14, sat next to my father-in-law, Eldon. It was a last-minute plan thrown together that we were even here across three family generations.

On Monday, Elizabeth asked me to join the trivia team along with another mom and two friends. An hour before we needed to be at the school, I called Eldon and asked if he could join our team. He agreed. We waited for the girls basketball team to arrive from the co-op sports school, Hatton, on the second day of their season practice. When the girls walked in the front door of the school, they grabbed plates of supper and joined their teams of families and friends to launch into the trivia competition.

Our daughters are growing up and living out their teens within two miles of my in-laws and 25 miles of my parents and their farm. Just before I left to pick up Eldon, my parents stopped by our home to drop off dozens of cookies my mom baked for the youth group supper the girls and I were making and preparing for the next night at church. Our daughter Anika, age 13, my parents, and I visited before they left to attend another event. Then Anika joined my mother-in-law, Carol for supper and a board game while Eldon and I went to the school for our inaugural trivia night and to meet up with Elizabeth and the rest of our friends on the team.

Eldon being born in the 1940s and I in 1979 brought more of the “multi-generation” to the team which was filled with questions for Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z.

Fourteen tables were filled in the commons of the school, all by people of varied ages, occupations and experiences but connecting together. If each team had six on their team, plus a few organizers, the event connected more than 85 people on a snowy Tuesday night together in a town of listed 2021 population of 964. Communities of any size need connection, I was reminded.

Whether we finished last or in first place, I believe connecting people together in our small school and rural community is a win.

How can you initiate more connection across multi-generations around you, family, neighbors, or community-wide? With holidays approaching and the winter season setting in, seeking connection keeps us all healthier in rural America.


Pinke is the publisher and general manager of Agweek. She can be reached at, or connect with her on Twitter @katpinke.

Katie Pinke serves as Agweek and AgweekTV's publisher and general manager and since 2015 has written a weekly column. Pinke resides in rural North Dakota with her husband and children where she is a 4-H leader, active community volunteer, and a proud fifth-generation farmers' daughter.
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