Deaf Students Compete in National Academic Bowl

By: Elizabeth Lamb Email
By: Elizabeth Lamb Email

STAUNTON, Va. -- Hannah Mills, Sierra Campbell and Javier Alcazar, Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind students, studied their way to an academic bowl in Washington, D.C.

“I've learned so much from this school, and it's kind of a time to show off what I've learned over the years,” said Sierra.

Competitors hope this will bring good publicity to their school.

“We want to show that our school is a good school, that we're smart,” said Javier.

For Hannah, the competition is about more than being smart.

“I always believe that it doesn't really matter who you are. You have to work hard. Hard work leads you to success,” said Hannah.

The team trained with practice questions and Rhonda Jennings, the team supervisor, who is also deaf.

“Being deaf is very hard and you face challenges every day,” said Jennings, “I want them to know that they can do it, they can make it. Don't sit back and say, 'I can't do it.' I want them to know they can.”

This is the way the competition works. A question pops up on a screen and if students know the answer, they hit a flashing buzzer. They write down the answer and compete against other teams.

The students will compete against other deaf students from across the country. The competition inspired all three students to go to college and to keep learning.

“If you don't learn and if you don't grow in your education, your success is going to be limited in the future,” said Javier.

The teammates inspired each other through teamwork and learning together.

“It gives me more confidence,” said Hannah, “I know they're beside me all the time. They're there to support. If I'm lost, they'll help me.”

Sierra said how grateful she was for the opportunity.

“I feel wonderful about this experience. It's such a blessing,” said Sierra.

The academic bowl starts this weekend. Students will compete in a regional competition and then move on to a national competition.

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