Ocean Road Team Takes Home the Trophy in Annual Academic Bowl
On Wednesday, April 18th, 144 fifth grade students from schools across Monmouth and Ocean Counties traveled to Jackson’s Goetz Middle School to compete in the 20th Annual Goetz Academic Bowl, a Jeopardy-style trivia contest that pits teams of students from participating schools against each other, to compete for the title of Academic Bowl Champion.
Twenty-four teams battled through three preliminary rounds, demonstrating their knowledge on everything from pop culture to math and science.
Among the contestants, were 12 students from the Point Pleasant Borough School District, the members of the Nellie F. Bennett Elementary School and Ocean Road Elementary School Academic Bowl Teams. And for the first time in the history of the District’s participation in the Academic Bowl, the First Place trophy was awarded to a Point Pleasant Borough School Team.
Surpassing 23 other teams, with a final score in excess of 1,300 points, the Ocean Road Elementary School Academic Bowl Team, comprised of fifth grade students, Meghan Carroll, Elizabeth Kissel, Devin Hart, Jackson Tremblay, Daniel Canales, and Rylan Grabis, led by advisor, Ocean Road Media Specialist Karen Hoffmaster were named champions of the 20th Goetz Academic Bowl.
The members of Nellie Bennett’s Academic Bowl Team, Brian Weir, Anna Dowling, Ryan Young, Liam Murphy, Ellie Hulit, and Julia DeLong under the tutelage of advisor Kate Mockaitis, also performed impressively, finishing in sixth place out of the 24 teams.
For over three hours, the teams slogged through three preliminary rounds of the competition, pairing with a different school each round, answering questions from categories like Spelling, Units of Measure, Going Green and Famous Citizens.
Structured similarly to traditional Jeopardy, the teams alternated selected from each category, one of five corresponding questions with incrementally increasing point-values, representing progressively more difficult questions. The Bowl diverted from the televised game show in the way it was scored.
“Each team was given the opportunity to answer their chosen questions,” said Mrs. Hoffmaster, Ocean Road’s Academic Bowl Team advisor for the past 7 years. “If the team answered the question correctly, they were awarded the points accordingly. While teams were not penalized for questions answered incorrectly, the opposing team was given the opportunity to answer the missed questions, thereby gaining additional points.”
According to Mrs. Hoffmaster, the advisors kept score and submitted the totals for each round to the judging committee, who then tallied all scores to determine the two teams with the highest scores, who would advance to the final round.
With 1080 points, Holmdel’s Indian Hill Elementary School was deemed the challenging team to Ocean Road’s, who finished the preliminary rounds with 1160 points.
The ensuing competition was fierce as the two teams battled through the final round answering questions from the categories Native American Tribes, The Roman Empire, Song Lyrics, Art History, and Bill of Rights.
“That last bout was heated but our team pulled through, earning the winning trophy,” said Mrs. Hoffmaster. “I am exceedingly proud of the team for the hard work they put into this win.”
Mrs. Hoffmaster said the Academic Bowl Team is determined by scores on a trivia question administered to all fifth grade students at the start of the school year. The students with the highest scores on the qualifying test are invited to join the Academic Bowl Team.
“Meeting once a week after school, the Team prepares for the Academic Bowl by practicing trivia questions and taking quizzes,” she said. “They work very hard, preparing not only for the Bowl, but also for the Knowledge Master Open, an international, semi-annual trivia contest, taken online.”
A competition with results, according to Mrs. Hoffmaster, that would presage the Team ‘s performance in the Bowl.
“Ocean Road’s Academic Bowl Team is currently ranked 2nd in New Jersey and 31st worldwide in the Knowledge Master Open, a testament to their dedication and commitment to the Team,” she added.
“Both Ocean Road Elementary School and Nellie Bennett Elementary School have a long history of participation in the Academic Bowl,” said Superintendent of Schools Vincent S. Smith. “Both District teams have historically performed admirably in the Bowl, consistently scoring among the top teams. I would like to commend both Teams on their outstanding performance and thank them for representing the Point Pleasant Borough School District.”
The Superintendent said that both Teams will be invited to the May Business Meeting of the Point Pleasant Board of Education for recognition of their achievement in the Academic Bowl.