With so many changes in our county this year, Mrs. Lukkarinen and I have had to rethink many of the things that we do in the media center on a daily basis. Unfortunately, one of the things that we have been able to do less of is blog. Despite our challenges with our 1:1 iPad implementation this year, we finally feel like we are getting back into the groove and carving out a new normal juggling our traditional responsibilities, programs, and activities with our new role as iPad gurus.
One activity that we have kept at the forefront of our program this year is our Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl team. As reigning state champions, we have worked even harder on our books, questions, and buzzers to prepare for our competitions this year.
Liberty County HRRB Champs!
Due to a death in my family, I had to miss our season-opening competition against Liberty County High School on January 23rd. I had no reason to worry, however, because our team defeated our cross-town rivals 480-100 in six rounds of competition. The first place team in our county bowl earns the right to advance to the regional competition each year.
Southern Regional HRRB Champs!
Last Saturday, February 7th, our team competed in the Southern Regional Bowl held in Valdosta. Once again, our team did not disappoint! For the third year in a row, our team defeated the other six schools in the competition to earn a spot in the Division II Bowl in Statesboro later this month. Our team once again showed that hard work pays off, outscoring the second place team 470-270.
We have our sights set on that state trophy once again. Our mantra this season is “compete for the repeat!”
For those who participate in Georgia’s Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl, January and February are incredibly busy months. For many of the schools that compete in this state-wide competition, teams are formed and practice sessions begin in August. From August until January, students read twenty books from the Georgia Peach Award nominees and study thousands of possible questions about the titles. January and February begin competition season; first with county, then regionals, and finally district, for teams that earn the right to compete at the next level. Only two teams each from the elementary, middle, and high school levels compete in March for the state championship. We have been very excited to earn our spot in the state championship finals over the past two years. After suffering a tough defeat and an ultimate second place finish in the state finals last year to Lithia Springs High School, our team was hungrier than ever for the win.
This year, we represented Division II in the championship against the Division I winner, Marietta High School. Marietta is a great team that has earned the right more than once to compete for the top honor in HRRB. Our team came out strong in the first round, answering the first five questions in the fifteen-question round. After round one, BI had a lead of 100-40. We would only need to answer five more questions correctly to clinch the championship. When the second round was complete, we posted a score of 80-70, easily securing the win and the championship 180-110. We are extremely proud of our students for setting a goal, working harder than we asked them to, and for carrying themselves like true champions at each competition in which they participated. They are fine representatives of Bradwell Institute, and we can’t wait to begin the process all over again with the same group of students next August!
Today is travel day! We are now on the bus and on the way to Athens and the University of Georgia for the state Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl tomorrow. Wish us luck as we compete for the final time this season!
This past Saturday, our Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl team competed in one of the toughest competitions of the year. As winners of the Southern Region, we faced the top two teams from the Eastern and Central Regions of the state, in addition to the team that finished 2nd at our own Southern Regional bowl. These six teams are the best of the best in our part of the state, and the competition was extremely tough this year. After five rounds of competition, we concluded the competition with 350 points. We knew we had performed very well, but you never know if you have done enough to defeat the other teams until the winners are announced in the closing ceremonies.
For the first time, the high school results were shared first in the closing ceremonies. We learned that not only did our team claim the Division II championship, but our team defeated the teams tied for second by a margin of almost 100 points. We also learned that we were the highest scoring team of the day, outscoring all of the elementary and middle school teams as well.
We will now face Marietta High School in the state championship to be held at the University of Georgia on March 8, 2014. Marietta earned their spot in the championship during the Division I bowl held on the same day as the Division II bowl. Their Divisional consisted of the top two teams from the North, West, and Metro-Atlanta Regions of the state. We were surprised to learn that they finished with a final score of 350, too, and also earned the highest score of the Division I bowl. We are excited to compete against a team so comparable to our own. It should be a very close match!
On Saturday, BI’s eight-member Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl team traveled to the Southern Regional Bowl at Valdosta State University. Each year, teams from the 61 school systems in this region compete for a chance to move on to one of two divisional bowls held in the state later this month.
This year, BI competed against seven other high schools during six rounds of competition, including our rivals from Liberty County High School. We had a strong showing early, putting up scores of 90, 60, and 80 in our first few rounds. At the end of the competition rounds, we posted a composite score of 400, our highest score in two years of competitions. We also defeated LCHS in our face-to-face round by a score of 50-40.
Even with a great score, we were not sure if it would be enough to put us ahead of Islands High School from Chatham County, who always brings a strong team to the competition. In the climatic awards presentation, we all held hands and waited as first the participation and then the placement awards were announced. Liberty was announced in 3rd, leaving BI and Islands to advance to the Division 2 Bowl on February 22nd. But we did not come to simply advance. We wanted to come home with another 1st place trophy and repeat as Southern Regional champs.
And that we did! It was a proud day for us all, and we celebrated with the team before heading home after a long day. We now have three weeks to prepare for another repeat performance at Divisionals in Statesboro. Congratulations to our students who have worked hard all year. We are proud of you!
While our official summer vacation has yet to start, Mrs. Lukkarinen and I have already started our summer reading. Since we must spend a great deal of time preparing for next year’s Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl, I decided to start with some of the Georgia Teen Peach Award nominee titles that caught my eye immediately.
So far, I have read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Every Day by David Levithan, The Girl of Fire and Thorns (and its sequel The Crown of Embers) by Rae Carson, and I am currently reading UnWholly by Neal Shusterman (I read Unwind, the first book in this series, a few weeks ago because I refuse to start a series with book two). I thought I would write about my favorite book so far, but I loved something about all of these very different books.
I will be honest and say that The Fault in Our Stars was probably the best read overall for me, but I enjoyed the unique story of Every Day and the way it made me think about the characters in a way that I usually don’t. The Fire and Thorns books are fast-paced and page-turners, especially if you enjoy fantasy with a good love story and a strong heroine. Unwind and UnWholly are dystopian books that should appeal to fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent. I found myself reflecting a lot as I read Unwind, and I usually just devour this type of book.
I think what I have enjoyed most about my summer reading so far is the variety in the books I have chosen. (I don’t know how many John Green books I could handle in one summer. Tissues, please!). Next on my reading list is Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick and Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. Check back soon for updates on these titles.
Wish our team luck as we travel to Valdosta tomorrow to represent BI in the South Regional HRRB. Teams that finish 1st and 2nd will advance to the district competition in Brooklet later this month. We are excited and look forward to representing Liberty County at this level. GO HRRB Tigers!