SOUTH FORSYTH -- South Forsyth Middle School’s academic bowl team recently brought home new accolades after winning the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, or PAGE, state Academic Bowl Saturday.
The event was held Jan. 21 at the Georgia College & State University Arts and Sciences Auditorium in Milledgeville, where 24 semi-finalist teams from across the state competed in a round-robin competition.
Of the 24 teams, eight emerged as finalists and competed against one another in an afternoon single-elimination competition session.
“The final round in the afternoon was a nail biter,” said Sharon Smith, one of South’s coaches. “It was back and forth between Aaron Cohn Middle School and ourselves. Being behind on the last question, buzzing in first, getting the question correct was the most extraordinary moment of the entire day.
"I had tears of joy.”
South’s team is comprised of Captain Ben Hempker, Rohan Desai, Aadi Karthik, Yugesh Muralidhar, Andy Zhang, Emily Zhang and Tom Ciaccia.
South teachers Smith, Liz Rushton and Ashley Calloway coach the students.
“This group of talented, driven young ladies and gentlemen are a phenomenal representation of what an Academic Bowl team is about,” Smith said. “Ben Hempker as captain is a shining example of a team captain and leader. To watch them collaborate and compete as a team was an honor. I could not be prouder of them.”
The team practices twice a week and competes in multiple competitions yearly.
Earlier this year, the team competed at the PAGE regional competition, where they qualified for the state event.
The Bowl features teams of middle school students fielding questions on subjects ranging from Georgia history to mathematics, science, literature and the performing arts.
Opposing teams compete against the clock to answer toss-up and bonus questions in order to score points.
The goal of the program is to inspire students to excel academically, to enhance student self-confidence and self-esteem through high achievement and develop both a team and competitive spirit.
In Georgia, more than 1,300 students competed at the local, regional and state levels of the PAGE Academic Bowl for Middle Grades this year.
“It is always exciting to watch these outstanding academic bowl participants compete,” said Ann Stucke, PAGE Foundation president. “All of us observing the competition can appreciate the months of study, training and hard work that each student did in order to participate in the state championship. Our congratulations go to the participants, their coaches, parents and school administrators, all of whom contributed to the success of each team.”