Science team scores stunning win!

Published 6:00 am Friday, March 12, 2004

History isn’t the main subject of study, but it’s what fiveBrookhaven High School students made recently in an academiccompetition.

The BHS Science Bowl team won first place in the MississippiRegional Science Bowl Competition by defeating Mississippi Schoolfor Math and Science in a tough test of knowledge.

“We beat them in a double tie-breaker. That was phenomenal,”said Coach Leah Ann Peavey.

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It was only the second time in 13 years an MSMS team has not wonthe regional competition, and the first time they have beendefeated by a non-specialty public school. Alabama’s school formath and science had beat MSMS previously.

“It’s still kind of hard to believe. It took a long time to sinkin,” said team captain Brandon Russell. “I don’t think it willoccur to me until we’re on our way to D.C.”

Russell and the other team members, including Tabbitha McKee,Natalie Wolfe, Patrick Ayers and alternate Tucker Brady, won anall-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to compete for thenational title April 29-May 3.

“There are 60-plus regional competitions, and each sends onewinner to the national competition,” said Peavey.

Russell, a senior, earned his own kudos as the top individualscorer for the regional competition with a record-setting 35correct responses.

“It was pretty shocking, but it was a pleasant surprise,” hesaid.

Peavey pointed out that the most questions ever answeredpreviously by an individual had been 30.

She was proud of the way the BHS team handled the pressure offacing two MSMS teams in the regional competition.

“I told them to just relax and get in there and play theirgame,” she said.

The students have been filling their heads with knowledge for along time, but only began formally preparing for the competition inJanuary.

Earlier in the school year, teachers in the science departmentselected students by discussing which ones would create a good mixof knowledge on the team.

Students are quizzed in areas of astronomy, biology, chemistry,earth science, math and physics.

The National Science Bowl program was started in 1991 by theU.S. Department of Energy as a national tournament-style academiccompetition to challenge and recognize 9-12th grade students’knowledge of science and math.

The Mississippi Regional Science Bowl Competition, sponsored bythe U.S. Department of Energy, NASA and Mississippi University forWomen, is a yearly qualifying competition for the National ScienceBowl.

BHS has not participated in the regional event for severalyears, said school officials.

“I think it’s a really exciting accomplishment to have competedfor the first time in this particular competition and come homewith the win,” said Peavey.

The team prepared by studying the necessary subjects and meetingon occasion to share information, said Peavey.

Astronomy and earth science are not offered at BHS, so studentshad to work extra hard to learn about those subjects.

“I went to our library and checked out all the books on thosesubjects,” said Peavey.

The students were then assigned two subjects to study on theirown time. They will continue to improve upon those subject toprepare for the national competition.

“We could tell our weak points at the regionals, and we’retrying to focus on them now,” said Peavey, who teaches chemistryand advanced placement chemistry.

In the regional competition of 12 teams from across the state,BHS beat Walnut High School 62-58 on a tie-breaker, East Webster124-8, Walnut High School 44-12, and East Webster 66-18 in themorning session.

The afternoon session started with a five-question toss-upagainst the MSMS II team to determine who received a bye. MSMS IIwon, and BHS faced East Webster first in the single eliminationmatch. The defeated East Webster 86-8, advancing to face MSMS II ina full match. BHS prevailed 56-52, with a double tie-breaker win toadvance to the finals.

In the featured championship match, BHS faced MSMS I. At thehalf of the match, BHS was down 26-8, but didn’t lose sight oftheir goal. In the latter part of the match, BHS took the lead andheld on for a 50-34 win.

Team awards included trophies, medals and a banner for firstplace. MSMS I finished second, followed by Walnut High School inthird.

Team members are thankful for every teacher who has touchedtheir lives, bringing them to the level they are at today.

“We would also like to thank our principal, Susan Chapman, andBrookhaven School District Superintendent Dr. Sam Bounds, foroffering advanced and AP math and science courses for our studentswho choose to be challenged,” said Peavey.