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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

24th Annual Blue Crab Bowl Was a Virtual Success

By Tiffany Whitfield

The Blue Crab Bowl, a 24-year tradition of high school students going head-to-head in a rapid buzzer, rapid fire competition, could not be stopped, even during a global pandemic. Since students could not compete in-person, the event was held virtually by the Department of Ocean and Earth Sciences in partnership with theVirginia Institute of Marine Science on February 26 and 27.

Questions covered a broad range of science, technology, engineering and international and national policy related to our world oceans. Fourteen teams competed over a two-day span.

Even though teams could not compete in-person, the Blue Crab Bowl maintained a dynamic presence on social media including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with timely screenshots of the competition taking place in Zoom rooms.

"As the Blue Crab Bowl is one of the founding regional competitions in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, we wanted to do everything we could to provide our Virginia high school students with the chance to compete in 2021," said Bill Dunn, ODU's Regional Coordinator and "Chief Crab."

"Kudos to Bill Dunn and to his counterpart at VIMS, Bethany Smith," said Fred Dobbs, chair of the Department of Ocean & Earth sciences at ODU. "They organized and led more than 300 hours of volunteer training such that our moderators, scorekeepers, timers, and judges all were well versed in a decidedly different approach to the Bowl."

After the last question was answered and the scores were tallied, the top placing teams were:

First Place: Chesapeake Bay Governor's School for Marine and Environmental Science - Glenns Campus

Second Place: Fauquier High School, Warrenton

Third Place: Catholic High School, Virginia Beach

Fourth Place: Seton High School, Manassas

The winning team, Chesapeake Bay Governor's School for Marine and Environmental Science - Glenns Campus, will move on to represent Virginia at the national finals in May.

"Thanks for all of your tremendous hard work and another impeccably run event," said Sara Beam, coach and faculty member. "We are so excited, and the kids are really energized after a year of so many disappointments. This is a true highlight."

The other schools who competed in this year's competition were Albemarle High School, Broadwater Academy, Chesapeake Bay Governor's School - Warsaw Campus, Chesapeake Bay Governor's School - Combined Team, Cosby High School, Indian River High School, Isle of Wight Academy, New Horizons Governor's School for Science and Technology, Norfolk Collegiate and Tidewater Academy.

The nearly 70 volunteers from ODU and VIMS who organized and ran the event, garnered praise from the high school teacher/coaches and students.

"I wasn't sure what it would be like doing this virtually, but it was a success," said George Murphy, coach at Fauquier High School. "Our students had great fun in the competition, for which I am very thankful."

"I really appreciate all your hard work, and my team is already looking forward to next year," said Diana Webber, coach at Albemarle High School. "My team had the best time! It was such a great experience from start to finish, and we learned so much."

Video of the 2021 Blue Crab Bowl Awards Ceremony can be found here.

The Blue Crab Bowl is one of 25 regional competitions sponsored by the Consortium for Ocean Leadershipprogram known as the National Ocean Sciences Bowl begun in 1998.

For questions about the event, contact Bill Dunn at wdunn@odu.edu.

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