The PHS Tsunami Bowl team heads to Juneau this weekend to scrimmage against the powerhouse Juneau-Douglas and Thunder Mountain teams. They’ll compete in head-to-head matches against the two teams, as well as meet with NOAA Fisheries staff and tour the DIPAC hatchery. “Our team learned a lot from our scrimmage against Juneau last year. For most of our kids, it will be their first glimpse of the kind of competition they’ll be facing in Seward,” said coach Joni Johnson.
The actual statewide Tsunami Bowl competition takes place in Seward March 2-4, but these students have already completed work toward one-fourth of their final score. “We wrote a research paper on a management plan for starting a pollock industry in Southeast Alaska,” said sophomore team member Diane Murph.
“Once we get to Seward, we’ll divide up the paper and each talk about the section we wrote to describe our management plan for the judges,” sophomore Nicole Peterson explained. Teams listen to each other’s presentations as they are being scored by University of Alaska scientists.
“The opposing teams and the judges can ask questions of the competitors. We’re guessing the judges will know a lot about our topic, so we need to be ready for some tough questions,” said co-coach Sunny Rice. Oral presentation scores make up another fourth of the final score.
Then comes the quiz bowl, which makes up half of the total combined score. Teams of four competitors race to buzz in and be the first to correctly answer multiple-choice questions on ocean physics, geology, chemistry and biology, as well as marine technology, sociology, and policy. The team with the top combined score wins the right to compete at the National Ocean Science Bowl competition in Baltimore, Md. in mid-April.
But there is an added motivation for participating in the Tsunami Bowl: college scholarships. Starting this year, all participants will be eligible to apply for one of five $5000 scholarships for any campus of the University of Alaska, provided by Icicle Seafoods. In addition, each member of the top two teams will receive a scholarship from the University of Alaska.
Travel costs for the PHS Tsunami Bowl team are funded by the Petersburg High School, fundraising activities, and a generous donation from the Marine Conservation Alliance.