By ROSE GARRETT
SOUTHWESTERN COMM. COLLEGE
Southwestern Community College Scholar’s Bowl member James Whitt of Cherokee was the individual high scorer and the SCC team placed second in Saturday’s (Mar. 6) NC Council of Educational Opportunity Programs Scholars’ Bowl Competition.
SCC hosted the two-day event, which included teams from Surry Community College, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Pembroke, UPCEE-Greensboro and UPCEE-Winston-Salem. The winning team – UNC-Chapel Hill- will represent the state and advance to the southeastern association regional competition.
“I’m glad it was the students answering the questions,” said SCC librarian and event volunteer Vickie Lepore. “You can really see they’ve spent a lot of time preparing for this.”
“We practiced a lot,” said SCC team member Emily Donovan of Bryson City. “I thought some of the questions were difficult but I thought we were pretty prepared.”
Team member Sarah Orr, also of Bryson City, said the Scholars’ Bowl “helped you learn a wide range of topics.”
“It makes me want to pay more attention in school,” added Donovan.
Team Captain Hally Trantham of Bryson City admitted in previous competitions she had felt a little nervous. “But this is my fourth year now and I’ve had some valuable experience.” However, Trantham said there seemed to be a lot more math this year and that’s not her strong point. “I’m better at English, mythology and random facts.”
Luckily, team member and Co-captain James Whitt of Cherokee does well in math. “And science, and just about everything else,” said Trantham, noting that Whitt outscored everyone else at the competition.
“I think the reason I did better this year than last year was because I’ve had a lot more classes,” said Whitt, a Swain High School junior.
While Orr talked about how being in Scholar’s Bowl helped her build knowledge skills, Whitt added that it helped him with public speaking, too. “It helps make me not so nervous,” he said.
Sean Nilan of Otto was amazed with the wide range of questions- “everything from common knowledge to geometry specifics,” he described. Even though he is especially good in science, this Franklin High School 10 grader elected to participate behind the scenes as a student ambassador. “Sean was a runner, a student leader among his peers, and a great cheerleader for our team members. We’re pleased to have so many students that support their peers and believe that education is fun,” said Erica Muse, SCC Upward Bound academic advisor.
First time volunteer Robin Whitley, who teaches GED classes at the LBJ Job Corps Center, enjoyed seeing how much fun the students experienced. “They were competing, true, but they did it with friendly camaraderie,” she said.
How well the SCC team bonded as a group and performed so well against much larger schools impressed SCC Upward Bound Director Annette Kesgen.
SCC UB Academic Advisor Cheryl Renfro said she was grateful for “the overwhelming support from our local business who donated food, bottled water and a wide variety of door prizes.”
For more information about the Scholars’ Bowl, or the Upward Bound program, contact Kesgen at 828-631-2671.