by SARAH NACHIN
Hernando Sun Writer
Athletic competitions are an everyday occurrence in the local schools, but on Saturday, March 9, students got together for a competition of a different sort. The Rotary Club of Spring Hill hosted a Brain Bowl in which middle school students displayed their intellectual prowess.
Teams from Challenger K-8, Explorer K-8, Powell Middle School and Winding Waters K-8 competed to answer questions dealing with a wide variety of subjects. The topics ranged from history, math, and science to geography, current events, and popular culture.
This was the twenty-seventh year that Rotary has held the event. Kevin Coit, a founding member of the club, and his wife, Janet, initiated the Brain Bowl in 1992. Brian O'Sullivan, a Rotarian, and friend of the Coits explained why.
"The Coits created this competition with the intent of recognizing exceptional intellectual talent in our community. Everybody seems to want to give a lot of attention to sports and athletes but not so much to the intellectual component of our community."
In addressing the students, O'Sullivan commented, "Whether you win or lose, you are going to come away with a lot of experience and a lot of pride."
John Stratton, Superintendent of Hernando County schools welcomed everyone to the event and thanked the parents, students, teachers, and community members.
"This is a team effort and I hope that you take away from this experience, learn from it and grow from it," Stratton stated.
Rotarian Libby Way was the Chair of the Brain Bowl committee and Mike Prescott, another Rotary member, acted as emcee. Linda Prescott and Kay Hatch, Hernando County School Board members, also attended. Members of the Springstead High School Interact Club handed out programs and helped serve lunch. Brian O'Sullivan and Don Barbee read the questions. A panel of judges, timekeepers, and scorekeepers monitored the answers.
The competition was made up of three games consisting of two rounds apiece and each school had an opportunity to compete against every other school. The questions were extremely challenging. A student scored one point for his or her team by answering a question correctly. However, a point was deducted for each incorrect response.
Two teachers from each school acted as coaches for their respective teams and, just as in any athletic competition, they gave their team pep talks prior to each game and between each round. There was a lively team spirit among the students as they competed to be first to answer a question correctly. All the teams did well in the competition, but at the end of the day, Challenger K-8 and Explorer K-8 had accumulated the most points.
The two schools then competed in the "Super Bowl" Game to determine the winner. Challenger won the competition with fourteen points to Explorer's six points. The members of the two teams each received a medal and a gift card.
Amy Ollivent, coach of the Explorer's team stated, "I'm proud of how well the kids did and how brave they were to be up on stage."
Victoria Jasztal, Challenger's coach, commented, "My team worked extraordinarily hard and remained focused during the competition."
A number of local businesses sponsored the Brain Bowl. One major sponsor was Chick-Fil-A Restaurant, which provided lunch for everyone in attendance. Another major sponsor was Sir Speedy Printing, which printed all the programs and posters.
Through events like the Brain Bowl, students have an opportunity to show their team spirit and skills through fun, educational activities.