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Education

State Agencies Launch New Academic Competition To Showcase W.Va.’s ‘Best And Brightest’

Academic Showdown.jpg
West Virginia Department of Education
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(Left to right) WVBE President Miller Hall, WVBE Vice President Tom Campbell, State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch, Senate President Craig Blair, West Virginia’s Chancellor of Higher Education Sarah Armstrong Tucker, and Curator of West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History Randall Reid-Smith.

A new statewide academic competition – that will mirror a history bowl format – will launch for West Virginia high school students this month.

The West Virginia Academic Showdown will be a head-to-head competition between high school teams from across the state.

Teams will be made up of four students from grades 9 – 12 and will cover subjects like literature, math, history, science, fine arts, religion and mythology, as well as current events and pop culture.

The program is the result of a partnership between the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, West Virginia Public Broadcasting, and the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History.

But it was Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, who championed the idea. Blair at a press conference Wednesday said he was inspired by academic game shows as a child and wanted something like it for West Virginia.

“We've got our best and brightest; we need to showcase them just like we do student athletes,” Blair said. “It's good for economic development. You put this out on all the TV stations, and the CEOs are coming through, or people who are visiting this state, and they're watching that on TV, and they’re seeing our students being displayed. That sends a tremendous message to corporate America.”

Twenty-nine teams from 19 schools will participate in the program’s inaugural year.

Universities across the state will host the regional competitions with the first one at Marshall University on Jan. 15.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting will be producing videos of the regional competitions and will broadcast the March 25 finale at the West Virginia Culture Center in Charleston live on television. Highlights from the regionals will also be shown during the live event.

Schedule of Events:

  • Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022: Region 1 Event at Marshall University
  • Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022: Region 5 Event at Shepherd University
  • Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022: Region 4 Event at West Virginia University
  • Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022: Region 3 Event at Concord University
  • Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022: Region 2 Event at West Virginia State University
  • Friday, March 25, 2022: Academic Showdown Finale at the West Virginia Culture Center

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