Students compete to demonstrate black history knowledge
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 29, 2012 1:46 PM
Kenada Grantham, of Norwayne Middle School, listens as moderator Robyn Wade quizzes him during the 2012 NAACP Black History Quiz Bowl, held Tuesday night at Wayne County Public Library. In honor of Black History month, the contest featured 21 middle school students from around the county answering questions on important moments and people that have shaped the role of African-Americans in the United States. Three eighth-graders were in the top three places. Returning champion Waverlea Brown from Rosewood Middle was in first place; Kayleon Dortch, also from Rosewood Middle, in second place; and James Pemberton-Coley, from Pathway Christian Academy, took third place.
The study packets were distributed a month ago.
Public, private and home-schooled students in grades six through eight worked individually and in groups preparing for the annual Black History Quiz Bowl, held Tuesday night at Wayne County Public Library. Twenty-nine students originally signed up, but only 21 showed up to compete.
Sponsored by the Goldsboro/Wayne chapter of the NAACP, moderator Robyn Wade of Curtis Media Group East breezed through more than three-quarters of the 300 questions in the packet before declaring an official winner.
In the end, it all came down to two eighth-graders from Rosewood Middle School, with Waverlea Brown taking first place for the second year in a row.
It was a double-elimination event, meaning each contestant could miss two questions before being out.
"In 1964, what Afro-American won the Nobel Peace Prize?" asked Ms. Wade.
"Martin Luther King Jr.," replied Waverlea.
Tell where the Black Panthers were formed.
"California," replied David Brown of Rosewood Middle School.
"In what state was Tuskegee Institute or Tuskegee University founded?" the moderator asked.
Two students replied incorrectly before Jala Holloman from Norwayne Middle School gave the correct response, Alabama.
Who invented the cotton engine also known as the cotton gin?
"Eli Anderson," said Umeke Hooker, a Dillard Middle School student.
"He said he knows it's Eli something," Ms. Wade told the judges, who would not accept the partial answer.
The correct name was Eli Whitney.
But it was the next question that really gave everyone pause.
Who was the first black man elected mayor of Los Angeles in 1973?
Guesses ranged from Jesse Owens to Martin Luther King Jr. Four students were knocked out of the running and it counted as the first wrong answer for two others.
"I know y'all are gonna remember this as the No. 1 most missed quiz bowl question," Ms. Wade told the audience.
Dekevious Bass from Grantham Middle School provided the right answer -- Tom Bradley.
Gradually, the pool of contenders was whittled down until there were five remaining.
Then Matthew Jennette from Norwayne Middle missed his second question, followed soon after by classmate Deshawn Owens.
James Pemberton-Coley, an eighth-grader from Pathway Christian Academy, made it to third place.
Kayleon Dortch of Rosewood Middle landed in second place, leaving Waverlea as the last one standing. The classmates said afterward that they had spent a lot of time studying together in preparation for the event.
"It's great," Waverlea said. "I was kind of nervous I wouldn't win, though."
The top three finalists received tablets and each participant was given a gift bag and certificate.