Teachers find joy in hosting trivia while supplementing their income.
If you’re among the growing number of trivia buffs who have played games at restaurants or bars in Palm Coast, chances are your session was led by a teacher, working to supplement his income.
Matt Graifer led a recent “Game of Thrones”-themed trivia night at Moonrise Brewing Co. He said afterward that he saw an entertainment gap in the area as a way to make extra money. Graifer was a college professor for Keiser University in the Sports Medicine and Fitness Technology program, until Keiser eliminated the program in 2015, leaving him without a job.
In November 2015, he began working for Challenge Entertainment, and as an instructor and college teacher. He was a trivia fan, so it came naturally to him. In January 2016, he went back to teaching but continued hosting trivia. He became an area manager for Central Florida in 2017 and brought Challenge Entertainment to Palm Coast. Now, there is a minimum of six shows running in Flagler County each week.
Thomas De Ceglie is an English teacher at Matanzas High School; he also sponsors the Film Club and the Interact Club, a service club affiliated with the Flagler Beach Rotary Club. He has been at MHS since 2010, and he graduated from Flagler Palm Coast High School.
He started with trivia because, like most of the hosts, he enjoyed the atmosphere and the competition. Having experience in front of people as an educator, he treated the bar as his classroom.
“Trivia is a form of ‘edutainment,’” he said. In high school, he said, “there’s a certain showmanship that can make grammar, writing, reading, and other aspects of the English classroom accessible, enjoyable and enriching.”
Nik Baldwin, a Palm Coast resident and technology teacher at Ormond Beach Middle School, was on a trivia team with De Ceglie at Graifer’s first show in Palm Coast. “He was looking to add more shows, and I was having a lot of fun playing, so I decided to give it a shot and was surprised how much I enjoyed it.”
As for the why, it’s the same reason any teacher has a part-time job: Teaching doesn’t cover the cost of living for a family in Palm Coast. Gov. Ron DeSantis sees the gap as well and recently announced his desire to increase the minimum salary for teachers to $47,500.)
“Palm Coast is an expensive little city,” Baldwin said. He said trivia has been a good part-time job that has also allowed him to meet other friends. And, he said, “I’ve been able to pay down a lot of debt I couldn’t otherwise cover with just my regular salary.”