BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP — Really good math and science skills, plus a good overall knowledge of everything from art to football gave two teams from the Alder Avenue School in Egg Harbor Township the top two awards in the Seventh Annual Academic Bowl at St. Augustine Preparatory School Wednesday.

Eighth-grader Sheikh Mahmud, 14, from the first place Team A said they thought they had a good shot at a top spot because a team from the school had won first place last year.

Team member Vito Acosta said Mahmud and Jarod Wille are both great in math, and easily handled the problems.

“It wasn’t hard at all,” Wille said.

Acosta was disappointed that the history and geography round, his strong area, was cut short for time. He said they also benefited from team member Femi Agabalogun having watched the last Academy Awards show and remembered the answers to Oscar-related questions like the winning song (“Let it Go” from the animated movie “Frozen”)

This is the third time a team from Alder Avenue School has won. Sixth-grade teacher Jeff Warner, adviser to the teams, said they didn’t have time to prepare, but based on questions from past bowls he tried to make sure students were up to date on trends and events. He said their math and knowledge reflect their own skills and the strong academic programs at the school.

A record 37 teams from 21 South Jersey middle schools participated in this year’s event.

Stephen Capuccio, Dean of Enrollment at the Prep and moderator of the event said they started it because there were already several bowls for high school academic teams, but not much for middle school students.

He said Prep Academic Club students develop all of the questions, then the club leaders and he review them and pull a few if they seem too difficult.

“We ask stuff that we learned, and add a few that are out there just to make it more competitive,” sophomore Gianni Finizio of Vineland said as he tallied results on a spreadsheet in a nearby office.

Students said they were challenged.

“Some (questions) were easy, and some were super hard,” said Matt Braun, 13, of Folsom.

Parents crowded the gym to watch, some guessing answers quietly among themselves as questions were displayed on electronic boards. Students wrote their answers on small erasable boards, and Prep students proctored their work and tallied their scores. Other Prep students tallied the results.

As answers were posted teams would cheer or groan. The five rounds included language arts and the arts; math, science and technology, geography and history; pop culture and general knowledge; and an intermission round where students got dinner, and also had to identify flags of different countries, and college and corporate logos.

Alder Team A won with a total 59 out of a possible 85 points. Alder Team B and St. Margaret Regional School in Woodbury Heights tied for second place with 56 points and St. Mary’s from Williamstown was third with 54 points.

Members of Alder Team A are: Vito Acosta, David Serback, Hans-Derek Yu, Aidan Himley, Sheikh Mahmud, Femi Agabalogun, Michael Donchey and Jarod Wille.

Members of Alder Team B are: Mubeen Momobu, Ayesha Bibi, Imohimi Unuigbe, Leo Shao, Cameron Frye, Kimberly Kline, Zachary Samuelsen, and Scott Zimmerman.

Contact Diane D'Amico:


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