Heritage Middle School Academic Bowl team

The Heritage Middle School Academic Bowl team took first place at regionals, and ninth out of 24 at state on Jan. 20 at the Professional Association of Georgia Educators Academic Bowl at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville. Front, from left: Nathan Minton, Ben Hicks, Parker Taylor and Grant Moore. Back, from left: Patrick Webster, Micah Rhodes, Eli Tollett, Parker Hayen, Adam Atkinson and Alex Frost.

Ten students from Heritage Middle School made the commitment this year to compete in a rigorous academic competition: the Professional Association of Georgia Educators Academic Bowl.

The HMS team took first place in the eight-team regional tournament held at LaFayette Middle School on Dec. 16, qualifying them to go on to state. Of the 130 teams that competed at regional tournaments throughout the state, 24 qualified to move on to the state level.

"This is my second year working with the team," says Charlene Higgins, HMS teacher and one of the team’s coaches, "and these students continue to amaze me with their knowledge and work ethic. They are willing to study on their own time and practice after school hours."

Higgins says competing in Academic Bowl is about a lot more than a contest. "It creates good work and study habits. It broadens individual horizons of factual information and develops poise and confidence in students. It teaches students to work as teams and become better citizens, and it instills an appreciation for the pursuit of knowledge."

At the state-level competition, held at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, HMS tied for eighth place out of 24 teams from public and private schools throughout Georgia. The final placing was ninth after a head-to-head tie-breaker round of questions.

Questions, says Higgins, can cover topics as diverse as literature, math, science, history, current events and entertainment. Each round consists of 12 Jeopardy-like questions and 12 possible bonus questions. Students push a buzzer for a chance to answer.

HMS and other schools in the area will hold their own tournament from February through April as a way to give students the opportunity to hone their study and competition skills. The HMS team plans to aim for State again next year.

HMS students interested in Academic Bowl should contact Ms. Higgins.