This may be the first year that Newton High School has an academic team, but their success would seem to prove otherwise.
The academic team, which often goes by the name The Snapping Turtles, has only been together for two months; however, they have placed in every competition that they have participated in.
“We won our first tournament as novices. We don’t win all of our tournaments, but we always place in the finalists,” said Sandra Taylor, Newton High psychology teacher and academic team leader.
After winning the State History Tournament, the team is now eligible to compete in Washington at the National History Bowl National Championship competition in April.
Taylor accredits their success to hard work and their ability to work together as a team.
“I have loved being involved with the team,” Taylor said. “They practice constantly and still get up to be at the bus at 6:30 to 7 a.m. to go to tournaments. Sometimes, we get back as late as 8 or 9 p.m. They never complain.”
Taylor was eager to start the team after being involved with the academic team at her previous teaching job in Florida.
“I had academic teams when I taught in Florida,” Taylor said. “I know we needed a team at Newton High, to show the skills of our students. Dr. Lockhart, our principal, has been completely supportive.”
The team works extremely hard, practicing two to three times a week, attending competitions twice a month and studying at home every day.
“I love the challenge of being on the team,” said Ecclesia Morain, a senior member of the team.
They have worked hard to get where they are; however, the team will only be able to participate in the National History Bowl if they can raise the $1,500 dollars needed to attend.
The team is asking for donations from anyone in the community who would like to contribute. Sandra Taylor can be contacted at 770-787-2250.