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Getchell students compete in 'Orca Bowl'


March 14, 2018 | View PDF

Courtesy Photo

Marysville Getchell High School students and Orca Bowl team members at the Seattle Aquarium on Feb. 24 after competing in the state Orca Bowl.

Marysville Getchell High School students went to the Orca Bowl on Feb. 24 to compete against teams from across the state about their knowledge of the oceans.

This is the first year that Getchell, or Marysville in general, has had an Orca Bowl team at all.

The program is hosted by the University of Washington, which selects 20 teams from around Washington state to compete for a chance to go to the National Ocean Sciences Bowl in April.

"It's to help kids become aware of the global marine issues," said Beverly Mowrer, Getchell teacher and advisor for the group. "Our planet is an ocean planet and it is in a dire state."

Many students enjoyed the new Getchell program and the opportunity to learn more about the oceans and marine biology.

"When I first heard about this program, I immediately was excited and wanted to join. I have always loved learning new things in general and especially about the world," said student Garrett Devereux.

"What I liked about the Orca Bowl was the opportunities I got from it. I was able to learn about something I enjoy every day," said student Carlie Burns.

Although they got a late start this year, the students put in a lot of work to prepare for the Orca Bowl competition.

"Even on their own time they would meet at different members' houses and study together," said Mowrer.

Students said they enjoyed working with each other to become a team.

"My favorite part about participating in Orca Bowl this year was being able to be part of a close-knit team and being able to bond with my teammates during our 160 hours of study time and over our joy for learning about oceanography," said student Morgan Wright.

"We put in months of work and extensive study, but we kept it fun by playing games that involved some of the content," said Devereux.

The team from Getchell competed in the Orca Bowl, held at the University of Washington's Fishery Sciences Building, and finished ninth.

Mowrer said they were a little slow to start out and would have done better if they had started the day more aggressively.

"They were a little too polite," she said. "At lunch time I sort of had to talk to them to tell them it's okay to interrupt."

Questions at the competition come from a broad range of subjects including marine biology, oceanography, geography, political science and literature.

"Who wrote '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea?'" would be a question the team could receive, said Mowrer.

Students said they enjoyed being with so many others from around the state with the same interests.

"The best part was going head-to-head against other students from around the state who understood the same facts of oceanography," said student Jennifer Fernandez.

"It was a lot of fun because I thought that it was going to be competitive between teams, but everyone was very supportive of each other," said Wright.

After the Orca Bowl was done, students got to attend a banquet at the Seattle Aquarium as well.

Mowrer has been a teacher at various schools in the state and has participated in the Orca Bowl program whenever she is a high school teacher.

This is her first year at Getchell, and initially she wasn't going to start this year, but was encouraged to start the program up for Marysville by Orca Bowl officials.

She said that she has seen the program inspire many students to pursue science career paths.

"I have had lots of students who graduate and go on to get their Ph.D.s in Oceanography," said Mowrer, including one former student who is currently a professor who studies fluidity

Mowrer hopes that Getchell's Orca Bowl team returns next year and is able to build on their first appearance.

"I hope the program keeps going here," she said.

"I have learned so much this year and I know that we can all improve even more next year," said Devereux.


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