April 7, 2009 — St. Croix Country Day School on Monday won the 32nd annual Virgin Islands Quiz Bowl for the sixth consecutive year.
Competing among eight private, public and parochial high schools, the Country Day students persevered through two days and 14 rounds of competition, held at the Palms Court Harborview Hotel on St. Thomas. The contest began at 12:30 p.m. Sunday and ran until 5:30 p.m., then resumed at 8:30 Monday morning, finally concluding at 4:30 p.m.
The Country Day team was coached by Kevin Marin, and made up of students Jean Paul Antoine, Montana Gallegos, Sean Marin, William Neville, Blare Coughlin and Genna Keller.
Second place went to All Saints Cathedral School from St. Thomas; Ivanna Eudora Kean High School of St. Thomas took third place. Other schools competing were Good Hope School, St. Croix Educational Complex and Central High School from St. Croix; and Antilles School and Charlotte Amalie High School from St. Thomas.
The students were asked questions on a range of topics, according to Vernelle de Lagarde, president of the union. Math, science, history, religion, sports, current events — and de Lagarde emphasized current — were covered. There was a question about last month's AIG bonuses controversy.
According to Marin, the Quiz Bowl is a major objective of his students from the first day of school in the fall.
"We work at it," he said. "I'd love to tell you it's in the water — but we work at it. The kids are devoted, we practice daily from the beginning of the year. Every day at lunchtime, after school and weekends. It's a self-selecting process — the kids who have identified an interest in it keep coming back from more."
Marin said it's more than cramming students' heads full of knowledge. Much of the information is things they already know.
"We learn how to anticipate the direction a question is taking, how to freely associate things we already know," he said. "Kids know a heck of a lot more than they're aware they know. A lot of times it's just awakening a memory through an association. That's trainable. It's part of a formula that's led to years and years of success."
Marin noted that all the schools in the contest seemed to have improved, especially the public high schools, leading to a higher level of competition.
The bowl was sponsored by the St. Thomas-St. John chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 1825. Co-sponsors included WTJX-TV, Hovensa, the St. Thomas-St. John Board of Realtors, the Harborview Hotel, and Pedi Spec.
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