Gallaudet University Hosts 2011 Academic Bowl for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Eighty teams vie for national championship

Washington, DC  [February 21, 2011] – The 15th Annual Academic Bowl for Deaf and Hard of Hearing High School Students gets underway March 5 at Gallaudet University. The four-day tournament will bring to campus 320 of the best and brightest deaf and hard of hearing high school students from across the nation to match wits with one another on a wide range of topics in a  Jeopardy!-style format. 

For the first time in its history, the Academic Bowl will take place entirely on the university’s campus. Previously, regional competitions comprising 75-80 teams eliminated all but the four or five top teams, which were the only ones invited to Gallaudet for the national championship.

“By bringing these students to campus it gives them an opportunity to get a taste of the unique Gallaudet experience,” said Gallaudet University Provost Dr. Stephen Weiner. “While we created the Academic Bowl to provide these students with the same kind of intellectual challenge that many of their hearing peers enjoy, we also saw it as a unique way of introducing prospective Gallaudet students to the university and all that it has to offer.”

The strategy to conduct the entire competition at Gallaudet promises to yield significant results. Organizers of the Academic Bowl calculate that, on average, it takes just 3.1 students to enroll at Gallaudet for the university to recoup the costs for the annual tournament. Last year, of the 101 high school seniors that participated in the Academic Bowl, 32 joined the university’s freshmen class the following fall.  “That’s ten times what’s needed for the Academic Bowl to pay for itself,” continued Weiner. 

Gallaudet’s Academic Bowl is similar to quiz tournaments engaged in by high school students throughout the country—with two notable exceptions: questions are presented to contestants in American Sign Language as well as in spoken and written English; and “Deaf Studies” is one of the categories from which questions are drawn. And, of course, instead of signaling an answer with the sound of a buzzer, the teams get the moderator’s attention with a flashing light.

Gallaudet President Alan Hurwitz will present the national trophy to the winning Academic Bowl team following the championship match March 8 at 8 p.m.

“Every Academic Bowl participant is a winner,” said Hurwitz. “Not only do the high school students get to see Gallaudet up close and learn about the important role it has played, and continues to play, in the lives of countless deaf and hard of hearing people, they also get a good picture of Washington, D.C., and its art, entertainment and cultural offerings, as well as the strong deaf and hard of hearing community that makes up part of the city’s diverse community.” 
To view the championship match and award ceremony at 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, March 8, or for a complete list of the schools participating in this year’s competition, go to

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