Please allow me to boast. Congratulations to Matthew Benitez, Jacob Deyell, Victor Garcia, Gayane Hovsepyan and Meagan Yuen for winning Hoover’s first Glendale Unified Scholastic Bowl in five years – and my first victory as coach.
Glendale Unified School District is to be commended for maintaining the annual event for 23 years, even during lean financial years lately. It’s the one event that showcases the smart kids in Glendale’s schools and puts these young people in the spotlight.
NBC Channel 4 weatherman Fritz Coleman has been the host for the past 17 years and does a yeoman’s job with his droll sense of humor.
But the evening belongs to the 20 young men and women (five per high school) who sacrifice school lunch time, after-school time and countless hours of personal time studying a renaissance variety of subject matter.
No doubt the high school coaches deserve credit for selecting the students on the team and for organizing and managing practice sessions.
However, just like any coach of a sports team, it is the players who play the game. And it is these wonderfully eclectic teens, each with a unique personality, who have to answer questions on a stage with the lights and cameras focused on them in front of a live audience.
For those older people who view young people warily, they should attend a Scholastic Bowl to see how hopeful the future can be with these young people in it.
One of the questions that Matthew answered super fast before Coleman could complete reading it was about Harper Lee’s classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.” It meant a lot to me that Matthew could answer that question because two years earlier he'd studied that book in my English class.
Not to sound too hyperbolic, but watching my team enjoy themselves not just at the end but throughout the competition goes down as one of the highlights of my 24-year teaching career.
The ultimate for an educator is to see the fruits of one’s labor. Too often a teacher doesn’t get to see what happens to those he teaches. But in one brief moment, I was able to watch the kids I coached and taught over the past few years shine. I’m a proud coach.
BRIAN CROSBY is a teacher in the Glendale Unified School District and the author of "Smart Kids, Bad Schools and The $100,000 Teacher." He can be reached at brian-crosby.com.