Helen Ruffin readers bowl over competition


Erin Grier

The team waits for their next round against McEachern to begin. Held in various classrooms around Campbell High School, the rounds feature ten questions regarding any of the books the students have read.

Erin Grier
Longtime coach of the team, Renee Brown, a literature teacher at North Cobb, discusses competition strategies with sopohmores Devyn Maurer and Emmanuel Ogueri.The team won third place under her coaching four years ago ;it is they highest any NC team has ever placed.

On Saturday, January 13, NC’s Helen Ruffin Reading team competed in the annual Reading Bowl held at Campbell HS. Division I high schools and middle schools gathered to test their knowledge on a list of twenty Georgia Teen Peach book Award Nominees from this year. NC placed third in the competition, coming behind Walton at second and South Cobb at first.

“I like [being on the team] a lot, it’s nice to talk to other people who like books,” sophomore Devyn Maurer said.

Over the course of six rounds, moderators gave two high school teams a series of ten questions based on any of the twenty books they read. Players buzzed in within ten seconds, and if they answered correctly, they earned ten points for their team; an incorrect answer holds no penalties. Only five students from each team can compete during the rounds. NC’s team consisted of six students who interchanged spots in competition during each round.

Courtesy of Maddie Sullivan
Sophomores team managers Ally Ward and Maddie Sullivan carry their team’s banner during the Parade of Teams in the opening ceremonies. “I liked managing it, and next year I hope to start earlier and to become even more organized than before,” Sullivan said.

In the first round, NC went up against South Cobb, losing 40-30. In round two, Kell also beat NC 50-20. In the third round, however, NC experienced their first win against McEachern, with 40-20. The Warriors beat the Walton Raiders in the fourth round by 30 points, 50-20.  NC took round five against Osborne 60-20, and in the final round, NC beat Sprayberry 40-20.

“We’ve been in third place before, and it was about four years ago,” literature teacher and team coach Renee Brown said.  

Three of the members, freshman Tito Omoteso, and sophomores Devyn Maurer and Emmanuel Ogueri, competed for the first time after joining the team this past August.

“The new people did great. I was floored.They were tremendously helpful,” Brown said.

Mrs. Brown initially decided that the team would not participate this year due to lack of participation in previous years, but sophomores Ally Ward and Maddie Sullivan, who both began competing in the Reading Bowl in eighth grade, approached her and asked if the team could participate in the bowl under their management.

“They wanted to do it and I wanted them to have that opportunity. If they wanna read books, I’m all for it. They did an amazing job pulling it together. They are an amazing duo,” Brown said.

Erin Grier
Sophomores Emmanuel Ogueri, Ally Ward, Maddie Sullivan, Devyn Maurer, and freshman Tito Omoteso pose with the third place trophy following the closing ceremony. (missing: Erin Grier)

Sullivan and Ward recruited new members for the team, wrote quiz questions for the books they read, and ran team meetings held in Mrs. Brown’s room every Monday after school. Although management proved a stressful undertaking, the pair plan to oversee the team again next year. They want to garner more exposure for the club and plan certain components ahead to ensure a well-organized process that will continue to run smoothly in future years.

“I’ve learned that you become really close with the people you compete with and that even though winning is fun, the overall competition is the best part,” Ward said.


Erin Grier
Ogueri, Maurer, Sullivan, and Ward head to the next round. The sophomores anxiously discuss the books they read and the questions presented to them in the previous round.