Middle schoolers buzz in at Brain Bowl

Sheri Byrd, Story and photos
Kaiserslautern American

***image1*** Buzzing in to answer academic trivia questions in all school subjects, more than 50 Kaiserslautern District middle school students gathered for the annual Brain Bowl competition at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center’s Heaton Auditorium April 6.

In the final question of the final round, seventh-grader James Ridgeway, Ramstein American Middle School Team 2, scored a last-second point with the correct answer to: “Out of the Dust” by Karen Hesse is about Billie Jo living on her family’s farm in what state during the dust bowl days of the Great Depression? James said he guessed, but correctly, when he said, “Oklahoma.”

However, Bitburg Middle School Team 1 still took the round, and first place, with a score of 5-3. RAMS Teams 2 and 1 took second and third place, respectively.

Each team consisted of four students, with seven schools represented. Each round was 15 questions in subjects such as math, science, literature, history and grammar.

“It was great to compete, but the worst thing was all the rules,” said RAMS seventh-grader Josh Parfitt, voted his school’s most valuable player for the day. “I could have gotten so many more answers.”

Students were required to wait until the judge acknowledged them by name before answering a question. Often, eager team members mistook the judge’s eye contact for verbal acknowledgement, and hastily gave their answers.

“It was just fun to compete against so many other schools,” said Jacqueleen Cole, Kaiserslautern American Middle School sixth-grader.

RAMS team sponsor, teacher Daniel Owen, found himself conflicted in the semi-final round.

“It was so hard to see both my teams up there competing against each other,” he said, “but, the enthusiasm here among all the students has been amazing. It’s great to see the schools valuing intellectual stimulation like this.”

***image2***Event coordinator Elaine Edwards, seventh-grade science teacher at Landstuhl Elementary and Middle School, also expressed her appreciation for academic events at the middle school level.

“It’s wonderful for these kids to have a venue for exercising their talent. The teachers have worked very hard to give this to them.”

Second-place RAMS 2 team members were seventh-graders Zachary Byrd and James Ridgeway, and eighth-graders Ashley Rutstein and Kyrsten Crandall. Third-place RAMS 1 team members were seventh-graders Josh Parfitt and Collin Barclay, and eighth-graders Soren Scott and Chrystine Thomas.