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Friday, April 13, 2018

Woodfill Academic Team Finishes An Impressive 2nd Place in Region

Woodfill's Academic Team led by teachers Kelly Smith (left) and Maria Schuman (right).

Woodfill Elementary's Academic Team finished 2nd place in Quick Recall and 2nd place overall at this season's Governor's Cup Competition for the District – an impressive showing for Woodfill students and the school's best since 2003.

Woodfill's Academic Team was established under the leadership of Diana Stratton in the late 1990s, and Woodfill was the first elementary school in the district to have a team, says Kelly Smith, a Woodfill teacher and an Academic Team coach on and off for almost 14 years. Smith has been coaching the team with Maria Schuman, also a Woodfill teacher, for the past three seasons.

Academic Team students take written assessments as well as participating in "Quick Recall."

How does it work? "The academic teams compete in weekly matches much like Jeopardy against other local schools," Smith says. "This is called Quick Recall. Each school plays four students at a time." 

The matches include toss-up questions and bonus questions. A toss-up question is read out loud by a match moderator, Smith says, and the student to buzz in first gets the chance to answer the question. If the answer is correct, the student's team is given a bonus question to answer. Smith says the team is allowed to discuss the bonus question but only the team captain may give the answer to the moderator.

"You only have 10 seconds to answer each type of question," Smith says. "These matches can get pretty intense." 

At the end of the season, teams across the district participate in the Governor's Cup Competition, which took place February 10 this year. Smith says it's an all-day competition, and students take written assessments in math, science, social studies, language arts, arts and humanities, and composition.

"The rest of the day is all Quick Recall," Smith says. "The District Governor's Cup includes four to five teams. The Quick Recall teams compete much like a basketball tournament bracket. It's a two-and-out tournament. The day ends with an awards ceremony. The top two Quick Recall teams advance to the Regional Competition."

This year Moyer Elementary hosted eight Quick Recall teams at the Regional Competition March 3. Teams included Woodfill, Johnson, Reiley, Grants Lick, Fort Wright, Taylor Mill, Sixth District and St. Agnes. The written assessment, Smith says, included 17 area schools.

The Woodfill Academic team celebrates this year's impressive showing.

"At the end of the day, Woodfill finished 2nd place in Quick Recall and second place overall," Smith says. "This is our best showing we have had since 2003. We finished that year in second place at the Regional Competition as well. Maybe one day we can finish in 1st place, but for now, I am beyond happy that we have come in 2nd place twice."

Woodfill team members include Liam Reed, Garrett Cutajar, Hayden Hass, Haylee Hogie, Hank Shick, Chelsea Crisler, Owen Yelton, Warren Deaton and Vinny Listerman.

"I like the teamwork involved for the Quick Recall," Hass says. "It made it fun that we had to work together to get the answers. It was cool that we each had our own strengths and when we put it all together we made a great team."

Hass came in first place for social studies. "I was very proud to win social studies for district and then regionals," he says. "I knew I had it in me."

Smith says watching students excel in academic areas is very rewarding. "It's very much like watching students at a typical sporting match," she says. "We stress teamwork and sportsmanship a lot. Like I said earlier, these games can be very intense. The students, coaches and parents really get into trying to win the matches. Some of the come down to the final question or end in a tie. If that happens, we have to go into overtime and have tie-breaker questions. They can be real nail-biters."

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