Stony Brook, NY, March 14, 2014 - On the walk to the Student Activities Center at Stony Brook University, the early morning sun was bright and the temperature felt like a tease of spring during this long brutal winter. The taste of warmth was a glimpse of a new beginning--the blooming season just around the corner.
The Bay Scallop Bowl is also a glimpse of a new beginning. The quiz bowl represents the future of marine science and conservation. Education and inspiration help high school students become passionate about the knowledge, the issues, and the mysteries of our oceans, and mold our future scientists and advocates for ocean conservation. It represents a new beginning of discovery and ideas yet uncovered- a hopeful and changed future. The sunny walk to the event was a perfect parallel.
Entering the lobby, volunteers, teachers, and high school students were mixed about wearing mint green event t-shirts. The room was filled with excited voices eager to get the competition started. Sixteen high schools prepared to compete in this 13th annual Bay Scallop Bowl. Each high school had a team of four to five students led by one coach. Teams compete in ten rounds that test their understanding of marine science and policy. The winning team takes their knowledge of the ocean and their winning spirit with them to compete in the National Ocean Science Bowl Finals.
Soon it became time for people to migrate from the lobby to the auditorium to hear welcoming remarks. Carl Safina, author and founder of the Blue Ocean Institute, Congressman Tim Bishop, State Senator John Flanagan, Assemblyman Steven Englebright, and Interim Director of New York Sea Grant, William Wise, spoke with compassion about how important it is to care for the sea, and how wonderful this event is to inspire passion for the ocean. Carl Safina made a comment to the students about how they are all winners because they are interested in the ocean, “Curious people apply themselves to learn amazing things.” Assemblyman Steven Englebright, spoke about how “important it is to have all the schools represented by all the scholars who are interested in the environment, the ocean, and the legacy…” so that the ocean is “…understood before it is lost.” He spoke highly of the event and of the students because they have the “knowledge and enthusiasm, and desire to make the future better.”
Carl Safina. Photo: Lauren Rosella.
After the opening speeches, William Wise introduced the teams one by one, and each introduction was followed with applause. After going over the rules of the competition, everyone shuffled off to eat breakfast in the Ballroom that was filled with brightly colored marine themed balloons.
Stony Brook University ballroom where the Bay Scallop Bowl festivities were held. Photo: Lauren Rosella.
When everyone’s stomach was filled, it was time for round one. Teams, volunteers, and teachers made their way to the third floor to find their assigned rooms. After about a half hour, round one was completed and students dispersed from the rooms of intensity. Saint Ann’s School’s coach, Sarah Richards, stated that her team was losing at the start of round one, 0-24. However, a proud smile grew on her face as she described how her team picked up their game and snatched the win with a resulting score of 150 points. Sarah claimed that her team was familiar with many of the questions in that round because the questions were reviewed in their devoted practices. Sarah has been a part of this event for 13 years, but this year she was pleased to have her son, Tom, be one of the St. Ann team members. Tom began going with her to the event since he was three years old, and her supportive husband has been the bus driver that makes their travel possible to the yearly event. The three Richards have different roles for the day; one supporting the other, and that kind of compassion should hopefully take them to the finish. Sarah said this event is friendly and fun, and that we’d have to see how her team does in the next rounds.
Richards Family. Photo: Lauren Rosella.
Round three-- Saint Ann’s School competed against Farmingdale. The buzzer round was intense and quickly paced. Multiple-choice questions were read aloud, and a team member had to buzz in before the other team to answer the question. Next, the teams were distributed short-answer question sheets facing down on their tables. Once the moderator said to begin, the clock began to run. The students abruptly flipped their papers over and began thinking. Both teams conversed quietly to come up with the best answers to write down. Meanwhile, spectators and coaches sitting behind the teams quietly observed as they felt the power of concentration and the intensity brought by the time. On the board in front of the room was a projected image of the short-answer questions that the teams were working on. The coaches used binoculars so they too could tackle the questions. When the time keeper called time, pencils were down and an answer sheet from both team captains was collected and off to get scored. Meanwhile, a second short-answer question sheet was distributed and the conversing quickly began. Another buzzer segment completed the round, and the final scores of both buzzer rounds and both short-answer segments were tallied up. Farmingdale was declared winner against Saint Ann’s for round three. Teams shook hands, but the day was not over…
By the time lunch was ready, three rounds were completed, and everyone worked up an appetite again. Sandwiches, pastas, and salads were spread across the table in the front of the Ballroom and the line formed fast. After lunch, a group picture was taken in the lobby of all participants before they went off to compete for the remainder of the Bowl.
Group photo of Bay Scallop Bowl participants. Photo: Lauren Rosella.
Back upstairs, teams found their opponents, sat down at their appointed table and began round four. The higher placed teams from the earlier rounds were assigned to compete against the lower placed teams. Now, whichever team loses this round is eliminated. Double elimination rounds followed after, until two teams were left standing in. Those two teams were Saint Ann’s School and Mount Sinai. The final round was close. In the end, Saint Ann’s beat Mount Sinai 54-50.
The Saint Ann’s School team, Sarah and her husband and son, traveled back to Brooklyn as Bay Scallop Bowl 2014 winners.
—Lauren Rosella, NYSG Communications Intern
The Bay Scallop Bowl's 2014 winning team, from Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn, NY. Photo: Joseph Dlhopolsky.
The Bay Scallop Bowl's 2014 runner-up team was the Mount Sinai team. Photo: Joseph Dlhopolsky.