Top science students from Virginia high schools compete in 17th annual regional ocean science bowl
In a suspenseful cliffhanger that required an extra match to determine the final outcome, Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School’s Team A (Virginia Beach) broke their own record by taking first place in the annual Blue Crab Bowl for the seventh straight year.
The Blue Crab Bowl, now in its 17th 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 Old Dominion University in Norfolk on February 1st, pitted 15 teams representing 11 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 Seattle, Washington from May 1st-4th.
Second place in the Blue Crab Bowl went to Seton School (Manassas). Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School-Warsaw Campus Team B took third place, with Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School’s Team B (Virginia Beach) placing fourth. The competitors consisted of nearly 80 students who came from 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. More than 70 scientists—including faculty, staff, and graduate students from both institutions and researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—donated many hours of their time to ensure the success of the event. Additionally, staff from ODU’s Webb Center, Student Recreation Center, and service organizations helped with set-up activities.
“VIMS has been partnering with the oceanography department at ODU since the Blue Crab Bowl’s inaugural competition in 1998,” says Dr. Carol Hopper Brill, the Blue Crab Bowl Coordinator for VIMS. “Over the years, the competition has involved over 1,300 of the Commonwealth’s brightest science students from 52 public and private schools across Virginia. Some of these aspiring young scientists may become future colleagues, so it’s a well-placed investment.”
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. 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 15 teams, with four emerging as top contenders by late afternoon. Using questions designed by marine scientists and educators, the contest tested students’ knowledge of oceanography, geology, biology, maritime history, and policy.
At the end of the day, teams were recognized during the Awards Ceremony coordinated by Hopper Brill and Dr. Victoria Hill, ODU’s coordinator for the Bowl. Prizes were presented Dr. Roger Harvey, Chair of ODU’s Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Science. The students were applauded for their accomplishments and encouraged to continue their studies in interdisciplinary marine sciences.
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
- Governor’s School for Science & Technology, Hampton
- Grafton High School, Yorktown
- Isle of Wight Academy, Isle of Wight
- Patrick Henry High School, Ashland
- Seton School, 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 Services Program at VIMS; ODU’s Department of Ocean, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences; the Mid-Atlantic Marine Education Association; the National Marine Educators Association; Hampton Inn-Norfolk Naval Base; ODU’s Office of University Events; Webb University Center; and the ODU Student Recreation Center.