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Washington, DC [March 21, 2011] – Gallaudet University President T. Alan Hurwitz presented the three-man/one-woman team from the Maryland School for the Deaf (MSD) with the coveted first-place trophy for winning the 15th annual National Academic Bowl for Deaf and Hard of Hearing High School Students March 8, 2011. The four-day tournament brought 312 of the best and brightest deaf and hard of hearing high school students from across the nation to Gallaudet to match wits with one another on a wide range of topics in a Jeopardy!-style format. This is the third time the Frederick, Maryland school has captured the Academic Bowl title – the only school out of the 78 participating in the competition to achieve such a record. The 2011 winning team members are seniors Todd Bonheyo and Christy Hediger, and Andrew Biskupiak and Ethan Sonnenstrahl, eleventh and tenth graders, respectively. Bonheyo plans to attend Gallaudet in the fall. The MSD team’s coaches are Partick Rosenburg and Edna Johnson. Gallaudet’s Academic Bowl is similar to quiz tournaments engaged in by high school students throughout the country – with two notable exceptions: questions are presented to contestants in American Sign Language as well as in written English; and “Deaf Studies” is one of the categories from which questions are drawn. And, of course, instead of signaling an answer with the sound of a buzzer, the teams get the moderator’s attention with a flashing light.

MSD shared the winners circle with the New Mexico School for the Deaf (second place), the Model Secondary School for the Deaf (third place) and the Indiana School for the Deaf (fourth place). “Congratulations to the MSD team and coaches for a job well done,” Hurwitz said at the awards ceremony. “I am not only proud of the first, second, third and fourth place winners, but of all of the participants in this year’s Academic Bowl. It was an honor and a joy to have so many outstanding high school students on the Gallaudet campus. I look forward to seeing many of you here again next year.”

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