It’s official — the New Squids on the Dock, the National Ocean Sciences Bowl team from Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé is one of the best in the nation.
After clinching the top spot at the Tsunami Bowl, a regional ocean science academic competition, the team faced off against winners from the 20 other regional bowls and earned a spot in the top 10, taking the No. 2 spot in the science briefing round and earning a ninth-place overall finish in the national competition.
“I’m really proud of them. It would be a big accomplishment in any year, but in this year, it’s really exceptional,” said Shannon Easterly, the team’s coach.
The Consortium for Ocean Leadership sponsors the competition, which takes place each year and includes teams from high schools across the country.
The team celebrated the win with a pizza party as members await their prize, a new ocean sciences book.
“It was nice to get together and celebrate how well the team did,” Easterly said.
Easterly said that the team found ways to collaborate and prepare for the competition virtually throughout the season due to COVID-19 protocols that made in-person practice impractical.
To comply with virus mitigation, the two-part competition took on a new, virtual approach.
Rather than travel to a central location, teams competed on Zoom. The first portion included preparing for and participating in a mock congressional hearing as a science expert.
To prepare for the mock briefing, the team was assigned a piece of proposed legislation to review. Each team member wrote 300-500 words representing the opinion of a different agency and presented the findings to a panel of judges in a mock hearing and answered questions.
Thanks to vaccinations, team members got to sit together for that portion of the competition, Easterly said.
The next phase involved a QuizBowl that each team member did from home.
“It was pretty intense,” Easterly said.
Easterly said the team consists of all rising seniors who plan to return to compete again next year.
“I’m already looking forward to it,” she said.
• Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at email@example.com or 907-308-4891.