0

Berkmar's deaf team to compete in national academic bowl

LILBURN - A team of deaf students from Berkmar High School will compete in April in the Gallaudet University High School Academic Bowl for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students.

The team placed second in the Southeast regional competition, in which 16 teams competed at Berkmar High for a chance to advance to the national competition in Washington, D.C.

Seven teams from Georgia, two each from Florida and Tennessee, and one each from Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina faced off Friday and Saturday, answering questions about current events, deaf studies, the arts, geography, history and government, language and literature, popular culture, leisure, sports, science and technology.

One of Berkmar's strongest competitors, Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, won first place in the regional competition.

"We're a very strong team," Berkmar's head coach Greg Owen said during the competition. "But we do lack one thing, and that's speed in the first round. In the second round and third round, we play evenly."

The team's members - students Margaret Dixon, Michael Gibson, Colby Malone, Jeannette Simmonds and Tiffany Slieff - practiced for the regional competition for about a year. The team is coached by Owen and Trudy Clarke.

Students said they enjoy the competition because it allows them to show off their academic talents and gives them to opportunity to socialize with other deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

Slieff, Berkmar's team captain, said she was glad the regional competition was held at her school because it gave her family and friends had the opportunity to see her compete.

Gallaudet University is a liberal arts college in Washington, D.C., for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. The Academic Bowl, which started in 1997, was started to foster the pursuit of academic excellence, promote a spirit of academic competition and good sportsmanship, and encourage social opportunities for collegiality among students.