By Coach Scott Lipitz
Once again, RSD participated in Gallaudet University’s Academic Bowl, a prestigious competition of the minds with the strongest Deaf schools and programs across the nation. Each team consists of three or four of the schools' brightest students. In 21-2022, the Academic Bowl involved three virtual regional competitions and resulted in 16 teams advancing to the national competition on the Gallaudet campus.
The Academic Bowl dates back to 1997, and it has become the most entertaining and popular Deaf competitions. Topics include: arts & entertainment; current events; language & literature; mathematics; popular culture, leisure & sports; science & technology; and social studies. Gallaudet does a superb job to be very inclusive for all Deaf and hard-of-hearing students and funds the competition.
The national competition is the Deaf 'Super Bowl!' The championship match showcases the best teams of intelligent Deaf students in the nation, with people glued to their screens to see who comes out on top. Just making it to nationals is an accomplishment in itself, but to be crowned the #1 school/program in the nation is an award that comes with great pride. Students train and study yearlong for these competitions.
There are a lot of wonderful interscholastic competitions that occur nationally, but the Academic Bowl is the only one that is the "Battle of the Minds!" You have the HOY; SpikeOut; Berg and Seeger; and The Willigan Tournament, but the Academic Bowl is the big one. Even though the competition is fierce, once the matches are over, students come together and make lifelong friends through the social events that Gallaudet provides throughout the competitions. Every student does not place at these competitions, but everyone leaves with lifelong friends and memories that they will cherish forever. That is why this tournament is so special. It not only brings these well-rounded students together, but provides an environment that nurtures friendship and sportsmanship above all.
This year marked RSD's 25th year being part of this rich tradition. Three of RSD's students – Cody Campbell; Emma Kane; and Mariana Menzynski – competed with the help of their two coaches – Scott Lipitz and Sarah Stanislow. After kicking off the competition with a battle between students, and staff, the team advanced to competition against other northeastern schools and programs. They had wins against Lexington School for the Deaf, North Carolina School for the Deaf, READS , New Bedford Public Schools, and Western PA School for the Deaf, and they ended with a very respectable showing, taking 6th place in the East Regional Competition.
Even though we missed qualifying for nationals by one match, these students played with class, respect, and sportsmanship. Earning All-Star honors for our team was Emma Kane who was also recognized for being one of the very few students who ever became a four-time competitor. Hands waving for Emma!!!!! We look forward to next year already and will host tryouts that will be open to any 8th-11 grade student.
To sum up what Academic Bowl is and what it embodies, I would just say, "CHAMP!....The Academic Bowl is CHAMP!" It is one of my favorite highlights of the entire school year each and every season!