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Toughest question for Quiz Bowl team: How to pay for their trip to the finals?

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There's getting to the Quiz Bowl finals ... and then there's getting to the Quiz Bowl finals.

Qualifying for the event and arranging the trip are two different challenges, as high school students at a Crystal charter school are learning.

KSTP visited the team from Lionsgate Academy, whose coach estimates it'll cost $8,000 for the 8-member team to travel to Atlanta for the small school championship held by the National Academy of Quiz Tournaments.

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Lionsgate's mission is to provide personalized learning for students with autism spectrum disorders.

Children on the autism spectrum can show a range of symptoms but difficulty with social interaction is a common one. Students with autism can shine intellectually, though, and some have shown prodigious memories for facts and figures.

A North Carolina newspaper, the Fayetteville Observer, profiled two sixth-graders with autism who were part of their middle school Quiz Bowl team. Their parents said the experience boosted their sons' self-confidence and improved their social skills.

This is the first year Lionsgate Academy has had a Quiz Bowl team and coach Nathan Anderson tells KSTP it would be a shame if a funding shortage kept them from going to the finals.

A foundation is accepting donations to help the team. The three-day small school finals start April 24.

Ironically, last year's small school national championship – which was the first – was held in Minneapolis but no Minnesota teams took part.

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