NC’s record-breaking reading bowl win

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A committee made of librarians and English teachers from all across the state of Georgia choose 20 young adult novels to nominate for the Georgia Peach Book Award each year. This year, popular books among teens like Dear Martin and The Poet X appeared on the list. With her final year on the team coming to a close, team captain and NC senior Maddie Sullivan reflects on her time spent in Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl and the best books she read. “Personally for me, my favorite book I’ve read that’s a reading bowl book is Simon Vs. the Homo Sapien Agenda. Mainly because this was the first Becky Albertalli book I had ever read, and it led to me becoming obsessed with her books and now she’s my favorite author! So reading that impacted what I read now,” Sullivan said.

Erin Grier, Archives Editor

On Saturday, January 18, NC’s Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl team competed in the annual Reading Bowl held at South Cobb High School. NC placed second behind Walton High School, and as a result, will compete in the regional competition on February 8. 

Throughout six to seven rounds, seven high school teams tested their knowledge of the 2019-2020 Georgia Peach Book Award Nominees. In each round, moderators asked the teams ten random questions based on details within any of the books they read. Players buzzed in within ten seconds, and if they answered correctly they earned ten points for their team; only five students from each team could compete each round. NC’s team consisted of 7 students who rotated spots throughout the rounds.

In the first round, NC went up against Walton (last year’s first-place winner) and lost 60-40. In round two, NC beat Wheeler 80-20, and after taking a break during a bye round,  Kennesaw Mountain lost to the Warriors 50-30. NC won round four against McEachern 70-10. The Warriors beat Campbell 60-40 in round five, and in the final round defeated South Cobb 60-40.

“They did the work and they motivated each other, and I think those are the two keys. They wrote questions, and they wrote them early enough so that they got to start practicing in November,” Renee Brown, English teacher and Reading Bowl team coach said.

Erin Grier
With more than half of the team graduating in May, the remaining three members, (juniors Funmi Adewumi and Tito Omoteso and freshman Beth Hudson) now need to recruit new members and successfully lead the club at the same time. “I [feel] very pressured…we have a certain level to reach, so that’s scary. But at the same time, I enjoy this club. I’ve been in this club since eighth grade, and it’s changed my life for the better. I’ve met some great people here, so I’m really happy,” Omoteso said.

Only the teams who placed first and second could move on to the regional competition. After placing third for the past two years, NC’s team will compete at regionals for the first time ever. 

“In the ten years that I’ve been doing it we’ve never gone to regionals, and we didn’t have a reading bowl [team] before I started it, so we’ve never been to regionals,” Brown said.

With a team mostly made up of seniors, Brown began contemplating the future of the club and its graduating members.

“As long as I’m giving them back their love of reading, that’s going to take them wherever they want to go for the rest of their lives. I see a lot of my old students on Facebook and they talk about how they’re still reading… I can’t put a price on that. I don’t know how they’re going to grow, but I know that they will continue to grow,” Brown said.