Stillman College advances to 34th Honda Campus All-Star Challenge National Championship

Black and white college students pose for a photo outdoors.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – One milestone down for Stillman College’s Honda Campus All-Star Challenge team, with one more in sight.

Beginning April 15 in Torrance, California, a team of four Stillman students will compete in the 34th HCASC National Championship Tournament, the premier academic competition for HBCUs. Stillman’s team hopes to carry the momentum of its first-ever tournament win – a national qualifying tournament at Alabama A&M in late February – through to nationals, where 32 teams will compete for a $75,000 institutional grant from Honda.

A white woman holds a quiz show buzzer while sitting in a classroom
Carla Louca, senior religion major, is the top-ranked HCASC player heading into nationals this weekend.

“[Winning the qualifying tournament] was unreal … a euphoric feeling,” said Jaela Williams, who answered the winning question with one second remaining. “We’re excited to get to Los Angeles, fellowship with the other teams, and hopefully win another trophy.”

HCASC annually brings together more than 250 HBCU students, coaches, presidents, and institutional representatives for a tournament that uniquely combines educational and personal development experiences beyond the classroom. Tune in to the livestream April 20‐21 on at HCASC’s web site.

This is the 34th year Stillman College has participated in the Honda Campus All‐Star Challenge. Carla A. Louca, a senior majoring in religion from Tuscaloosa; Susannah Britain LeMay, a junior majoring in journalism from Fredericksburg, Virginia; Jaela Williams, a junior majoring in criminal justice from Huntsville; and Zharia Nubia Lankford, a senior majoring in journalism from Douglasville will represent Stillman College. Dr. Thomas Steven Jennings will coach the team.

Louca and LeMay are the first mother-daughter teammates, respectively, to compete in the tournament since it began in 1989.

“For over 30 years Stillman has competed at the HCASC nationals,” said Dr. Cynthia Warrick, Stillman president, “and during my tenure as president, I’ve attended every game. I’m especially excited about this year’s competition because it will be my last, but I’m hoping it will be our best. Stillman HCASC, let’s bring home the gold.”

Honda Campus All‐Star Challenge is a year‐round program celebrating Black excellence and showcasing the academic talents of top HBCU students from across the country. Four‐student teams face off in head‐to‐head competition and must quickly answer questions about history, science, literature, religion, math, the arts, pop culture, and sports. Beyond the competition, Honda provides grant funds and holds development seminars aimed at increasing career readiness and student empowerment.

This year, Honda will provide more than $400,000 in institutional grants to the participating HBCUs with many of the schools utilizing the grants to fund student scholarships. More than 145,000 scholars have competed in HCASC since the academic tournament was established in 1989. By virtue of its qualifying tournament win, Stillman has already earned a $3,000 grant from Honda.

“Being a part of a team where I’m forced to grow and step up is really beneficial for me and my personal development,” Williams said. “And I like meeting people from other HBCUs that hold those same values, so the tournament is a unique experience for me.”

Fans will be able to stay updated on the Round Robin games by checking the official leaderboard on Sunday, April 16. The Elite 8 playoff games will be held at the headquarters of American Honda on Monday, April 17 and recorded. The tape delayed games will be shown at the HCASC web site on the evenings of Thursday, April 20 and Friday, April 21. The Round Robin games are open to the public in Torrance, California, but the Elite 8 playoff games are open only to players, coaches, presidents, and official institutional representatives. 

To advance its leading investment in HBCUs, Honda is a member of the HBCU Partnership Challenge, a Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus initiative that brings together government, industry and HBCUs to create strategic, more sustainable HBCU partnerships. Honda also has partnered with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to provide annual scholarship funding to support HBCU students pursuing an education in engineering, supply chain management and manufacturing‐related fields.