One of the more pleasant duties at The Albany Herald presents itself each year in the first week of December.
That is the day when a small contingent of volunteers from the newspaper get to witness some of the brightest young minds in the Dougherty County School System in action in the system’s annual Academic Bowl.
On Wednesday, Robert Cross Middle School won back-to-back games against Albany Middle School to claim the district title and possession of the Christine Blaylock Cup for the year. Those two teams, along with Merry Acres and Radium Spring middle school teams will represent the Dougherty County School District on Jan. 11 at the regional competition, which will held in Americus.
Each round of the competition required the teams to field two questions each in English/literature, math, science, and social studies/history/geography, along with two miscellaneous questions from current events, music, art, physical education or computers. The team that successfully answers the toss-up question then gets to answer a related bonus question, with the opposing team poised to earn the points if the first team falters.
There’s a great deal of pressure faced as each question is posed, as team members not only have to know they answer, they have to be quickest on the buzzer to win the opportunity to answer. Members of the team have to be able to answer questions ranging from the works of Edgar Allen Poe to the names of the openings in plants that allow carbon dioxide, oxygen and water to pass in and out to the highest point in the state of Georgia.
“All these questions come from the middle school curriculum,” Rod Pollock, who heads up the Academic Bowl for the middle schools in Dougherty County, noted to the audience. “Are you smarter than a middle-schooler? That’s the question.”
The competitiveness that these teams exhibited and the work that they put in with coaches and parents preparing for the bowl was evident from the first toss-up question. While they don’t play on a big field under the bright lights before thousands of onlookers, what they do is every bit as challenging as any school-related activity you’d care to mention. And when the final question was answered, they had all played like champions.
The devotion that the students, their coaches, parents, teachers and school administration exhibit should be a source of pride for the entire community. If you ever wonder about whether the next generation will be up to the task of leading the community and doing great things, we invite you to witness next year’s competition and see for yourself.
We appreciate the opportunity to help in a small way, and we wish the four teams that will represent Dougherty County in the regional academic bowl the best of fortune next month in Americus.
— The Albany Herald Editorial Board