Salmon Bowl Gives Ocean Challenge
“Ready, go,” the moderator said to two teams, positioned at opposing tables.
(From democratherald.com / by Emily Gillespie – Gazette Times Reporter) – The high-schoolers of the Newport Aquarium team scurried around the edge of the table, whispering as they read the questions for the team challenge portion of the Salmon Bowl. The Lebanon High School competitors quietly muttered, bit their pencils and scratched their heads as they tried to collectively answer the questions about marine science, geography and geology.
The two teams met in the third round of the competition, a regional quiz contest that feeds into the National Ocean Sciences Bowl.
“Sometimes it’s so easy and other times it’s like, You want me to do what?” said Jon Lee, a 17-year-old junior at Siletz Valley High School. Lee is the captain of the Newport Aquarium team, a group of teens who volunteer at the aquarium and have been meeting once a month to practice for this event.
The event, hosted by the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University, invites students to take part in the regional competition. Teams from nine Oregon high schools competed, exhausting their knowledge of fish, marine policy and chemical properties.
Most of the students said they hope to pursue a degree in marine science.
For Lee, the source of his interest is obvious: “We live right next to the ocean; it’s just fun to learn about it.”
Members of the Lebanon team enjoyed the different type of competition the event offered.
“All the teams we have are physical,” said Thyanna Voisinn, captain of the Lebanon team. “It’s unlike anything else they offer at our school. It’s mind-active.”
Voissin said it can be hard because the questions cover such a vast range of knowledge.
And watching kids tap into this knowledge is why retired high school teacher Gene Williamson participates in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl.
“I do this every year,” Williamson said. During the first year, 1998, Williamson was asked to write all the questions for the competitions, even at the national level.
“You hear so many bad things about kids these days,” he said. “It’s good to see them get into it and get a good thing going. It’s not athletics, it’s up here,” he said, tapping his temple.