TALLAHASSEE, FL. — Perseverance has paid off the for Black History brain bowl team at Chiles high school. They recently came in first place at the state competition hosted by the Florida Education fund.
The group consists of Jordanne Stewart, Destiny Stewart, Noah Kabbaj, Alana Waddell, Aziza Davis and coach Edra Taylor. Some of them started competing as 8th graders. But they came in second place four-years in a row before finally winning in this their junior year.
“We started to realize that our initial approach that we took in 8th, 9th and even 10th grade of just trying to memorize the facts that wasn’t working as well as we hoped, because we still came in second," said 11th grader Destiny Stewart. "So, this time we tried to put every fact we learned into perspective. We’d look up the person. Instead of just being a name to us, they became a person to us.”
The Black History Brain Bowl focuses on the many achievements of African Americans throughout our nation's history. The students would bet up as early as 8AM on Saturday’s to study for the competition. Part of their research included reading the book Stoney the Road, by Henry Louis Gates Jr. The book gave them a deeper dive into black history.
“They didn’t just claim these things they gave us quotes, facts and statistics to back it up,” said Chiles 11th grader Noah Kabbj. “So, we really saw the true nature of these people, that wasn’t revealed to us in our learning of U.S history through our school curriculum.”
This competition also shed light on little known black history facts.
“We learned the basics like Martin Luther King and stuff like that in school,” said Chiles 11th grader Alana Waddell. “We don’t really learn in-depth history of black history. Sometimes thing are hidden even because it’s not pretty or violent. But I feel like everyone should be taught at the end of the day because it is our history.”
As winners all five students will get first choice of scholarships donated by Florida's public and private colleges and universities. They could be worth up to 4-years paid tuition.