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Students Getting Competitive Over Academics

Mar 6, 2005 – The season of competition is here for the brightest minds in the territory's public and private schools. At least five contests, covering subjects from spelling to history to general knowledge, are set to begin or are already under way.
Some organizers say there's a growing audience for the territory's academic bees and bowls. More teams and more supporters are turning out to witness the competitions, according to Ludence Romney, coordinator for Math Counts. He is expecting the enthusiasm to continue through the final round set to be held later this month on St.Thomas.
"Every year it's increasing. We've been working very hard, trying to get all the schools that are eligible to get involved," Romney said Sunday.
Champion "mathletes" from the St. Thomas-St. John pit their skills against the best from St. Croix March 17 at the Palms Court Harborview Hotel. This year 78 participants took part, representing 13 schools.
Romney said it's the highest level of participation seen at Math Counts yet.
There have already been spelling bees in the two districts' elementary and intermediate schools and a Science Bowl. A team from St. Croix's Educational Complex beat a team from the Charlotte Amalie High School March 1. They are now getting ready to travel to Washington for the national competition, scheduled to start April 28.
The coordinator of one upcoming contest, the Quiz Bowl, says the win by Complex at the Science Bowl has her eager to see what's to come April 3, 4 and 5 at Harborview.
The territorial round for the Spelling Bee is scheduled for March 23.
According to St. Thomas-St. John district coordinator Mary Harley, the spelling contest is the oldest competition. There are spelling bees for primary students, but only students from the intermediate levels meet in territorial competition, because the winner of that match represents the Virgin Islands at the nationals.
Another old timer, the Quiz Bowl, is now going into its 27th year, said coordinator Henrietta Warner. And over the years she said there have been teams who have come out on top year after year — All Saints, Antilles School and St. Croix Country Day School. There have also been challengers.
"Good Hope School has come into competition the last five or six years, also Eudora Kean and the Complex," Warner said. "I hear Complex won the Science Bowl. So this should be very interesting because they have the same coach."
And one of the latest competitions, sponsored by the Law Enforcement Planning Commission, is scheduled to begin March 7. The Virgin Islands History, Geography, Civics and Juvenile Rights Bowl holds its preliminary round in the St. Croix district, followed by the St. Thomas-St. John district competition March 9."This will be the third one, so it's a fairly new competition," said Annie Smith, social study's coordinator for the St. Thomas-St. John district. The winning teams from each district are expected to vie for the territorial title March 21.
There are also foreign language bowls, a communications art showcase and a science and technology fair where judges award prizes for the best entries.
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