Rockville High School from Rockville, Md., won the National Academic Bowl for Deaf and Hard of Hearing High School Students championship, hosted by Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. April 23 through 26, 2016.

Texas School for the Deaf from Austin, Texas, won second place, California School for the Deaf, Riverside from Riverside, Calif., won third place, and Starr’s Mill High School from Fayetteville, Ga., won fourth place.

Established in 1864, Gallaudet University is the world’s only liberal arts university in which all programs and services are designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students.

The Rockville High School team is comprised of players Ruth Ferster, Jaclyn Gleicher, Jonathan Summers, and Bryan Yun, and coaches Jenna Hubble and Chester Kuschmider.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Academic Bowl. Gallaudet University established the Academic Bowl for deaf and hard of hearing high school students in 1996. The competition consists of a question and answer game of general knowledge and quick recall. Questions are drawn from the following categories: social studies, language and literature, science and technology, potpourri, mathematics, the arts, deaf studies, current events, and pop culture, leisure, and sports.

Every year, Gallaudet hosts five regional competitions for up to 90 teams of deaf and hard of hearing high school students. Twenty-four teams then advance to the national competition.

All-star players included Henry Jennings (Taft Charter), Lydia Kopp (Texas School for the Deaf), Liam O’Connell (Starr’s Mill), Steven Putz (Hinsdale South), Gabi Reimann (Wyoming North), Milo Seal (Edmonds-Woodway), Jonathan Summers (Rockville), and Noah Valencia (California School for the Deaf, Riverside). The “Most Outstanding Player” award went to Bryan Yun (Rockville). Sportsmanship awards went to the Rockville and New Mexico School for the Deaf schools. “Coach of the Tournament” went to Michelle Halvorsen from Texas School for the Deaf.

“For 20 years, the Academic Bowl has offered deaf and hard of hearing high school students the opportunity to showcase their academic talents in a fun and exciting competition. It takes excellent teamwork and months of dedication and practice in order to be able to hoist the national championship trophy in front of an audience of their peers, the Gallaudet community, and the webcast audience,” said Jesse Saunders, director of Youth Programs and Outreach.

“All competitors leave with a sense of pride and accomplishment which the students then channel into their studies and extracurricular activities. Students who participate in the regional and national Academic Bowls are the deaf leaders of tomorrow and my team and I are honored to have the chance to put on this exciting competition every year.”

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