Top science students from VA high schools compete in regional ocean science bowl
In a tense competition that required an extra match to determine the final outcome, Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School’s Team A (Virginia Beach) took first place in the annual Blue Crab Bowl for a record sixth-straight time.
The Blue Crab Bowl, now in its 16th year, is the Virginia regional competition of the National Ocean Science Bowl (NOSB©), an annual academic contest to test knowledge of the oceans among high-school students. This year’s event, held at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) in Gloucester Point on February 9th, pitted 16 teams representing 10 Virginia high schools in a day of heated tournament competition focused on the marine sciences.
The winning team will represent Virginia in the national competition, facing 24 other regional champions at the National finals in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from April 18th-21st.
Second place in the Blue Crab Bowl went to Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School-Glenns Campus. Fauquier High School’s Team A (Warrenton) took third place, with Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School, Warsaw Campus-Team A (Warsaw) placing fourth. The competitors, 80 students in all, came from schools across the Commonwealth, from Virginia Beach to Manassas, and from Exmore on the Eastern Shore to Warrenton in the west.
The Blue Crab Bowl is a cooperative effort between the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & Mary, and Old Dominion University’s Department of Ocean, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences. Nearly 80 volunteers, including faculty, staff, and graduate students from both institutions, as well scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, donated hours of their time to ensure the success of the event.
Dr. Carol Hopper Brill, the Blue Crab Bowl Coordinator for VIMS, says the contest “uses questions designed by marine scientists and educators to test students’ knowledge of oceanography, geology, biology, maritime history, and policy. Guided by their teacher coaches, students broaden their awareness and understanding of the oceans as they prepare for the competition.”
During the opening ceremonies, VIMS Dean & Director Dr. John Wells welcomed the audience of roughly 200 and addressed the teams. He assured students that their hard work was not only preparation for the competition, but also skill development for possible careers in marine science. During the afternoon Trophy Rounds, Congressman Rob Wittman (VA, 1st District) dropped in to observe a match and congratulated all the competitors on their efforts.
At the end of the day, teams were recognized during the Awards Ceremony coordinated by Brill and Dr. Victoria Hill, ODU’s Coordinator for the Bowl. Prizes were presented by Dr. Rodger Harvey, Chair of ODU’s Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Science; and Kristen Yarincik, Director of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. The students were applauded for their accomplishments and encouraged to continue their studies in interdisciplinary marine sciences.
Virginia’s Blue Crab Bowl was among the inaugural NOSB competitions in 1998. Designed to inspire and challenge high school students, NOSB contests like the Blue Crab Bowl test the competitors’ knowledge of the marine sciences, covering the breadth of oceanography and maritime disciplines. To date, the Blue Crab Bowl has involved more than 1,300 of the Commonwealth’s brightest science students from 52 public and private schools across Virginia.
The Bowl provides a forum for students who excel in math and science to receive regional and national recognition for their diligence and talent. During Saturday's event, the competition started with a field of 16 teams, with 4 emerging as top contenders by late afternoon.
Competing teams included:
- Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School – Team A, Virginia Beach
- Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School – Team B, Virginia Beach
- Broadwater Academy – Team A, Exmore
- Broadwater Academy – Team B, Exmore
- Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School, Glenns Campus, Glenns
- Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School, Warsaw Campus – Team A, Warsaw
- Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School, Warsaw Campus – Team B, Warsaw
- Churchland High School, Portsmouth
- Fauquier High School – Team A, Warrenton
- Fauquier High School – Team B, Warrenton
- Grafton High School – Yorktown
- Isle of Wight Academy, Isle of Wight
- Patrick Henry High School – Team A, Ashland
- Patrick Henry High School – Team B, Ashland
- Seton School –Team A, Manassas
- Seton School –Team B, Manassas
The National Ocean Science Bowl is a program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership in Washington, DC. NOSB seeks to interest students in ocean science as a college major and potential career. Through 25 regional competitions across the nation, NOSB provides an educational forum intended to generate student interest in the ocean sciences; improve awareness of our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes; and create an “ocean literate” society that can meet the ocean challenges of the future. During 2013, an expected 2,000 students from more than 300 high schools around the country will participate in this annual event.
The Blue Crab Bowl wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of national, regional and local sponsors, including VIMS, Virginia Sea Grant and the Marine Advisory Program, ODU’s Department of Ocean Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, the Mid-Atlantic Marine Education Association, the National Marine Educators Association, Comfort Suites-Airport (Newport News), the Virginia Living Museum, and Pizza Hut-Gloucester Point.