Chatham County takes home Scholastic Cup at statewide education awards

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GREENSBORO — Chatham County Schools was awarded the School District Scholastic Cup on Saturday night at the North Carolina Association for Scholastic Activity (NCASA) awards.

The award honors the district whose schools earn the most points through participation and excellence in NCASA competitions. Districts earn points by winning competitions like quiz bowl or science olympiad — basically, any non-athletic academic competition

CCS won the mid-sized district cup award at the ceremony, which took place at the UNC-Greensboro auditorium. Three district cups were given out based on size of school district.

NCASA has hosted award events in the past, but nothing to this scale. Previous events were held in high school auditoriums or multipurpose rooms with limited fanfare, but this year organizers pulled out all the stops: guests at the ceremony walked down a red carpet dressed to the nines as a balloon arch and complimenting photographers greeted them. They were then ushered into a reception room filled with hors d’oeuvres and a student jazz band playing.

In the first award-show-style event hosted by NCASA, educators, students and schools were meant to feel honored for their outstanding performances throughout the academic year.

The awards ceremony, titled “Metrographics Printing North Carolina Showcase,” included live performances from 10 different state champion performing arts students and groups including a cappella, show choir and dance.

Superintendents, volunteers, teachers and students of the year were also recognized for their dedication to education.

Once the award show began, guests were welcomed to their seats by an orchestra. Each award’s finalists were announced by members of the NCASA board with kitschy phrasing like “the Eddie goes to…” Winners would then give a brief speech and pose for pictures. The whole event was meant to feel like the academy awards of education.

Chatham County Assistant Superintendent of Academic Services & Instructional Support, Amanda Moran, and board of education Vice Chairperson Del Turner attended as the representative award winners from Chatham.

“We are so excited to be able to take the Scholastic Cup home,” Moran said. “We would like to thank our students, our parents, and all of our group leaders for all of their hard work. This cup is for them.”

While she wasn’t in attendance, Jordan-Matthews High School quiz bowl coach Rose Pate was also nominated for a coach of the year. She finished runner-up for the award for her outstanding dedication to the team and Jordan-Matthews High School. Her son, Kirby Pate, tweeted out his congratulations.

“JM has punched above our weight in Quiz Bowl competitions for decades,” Kirby said. “She is an all time great Quiz Bowl coach who is finally getting recognition for literal generations of excellence.”

NCASA competitions include Quiz Bowl, Science Olympiad, Odyssey of the Mind and more. Schools earn points through participation and winning in these various competitions. More than 250 schools across the state participate in NCASA competitions. The competitions are meant to prepare students for college and beyond, as well as give them confidence through life skills. The organization is open to all middle and high schools.

Leon Pfeiffer, the executive director of NCASA, had been organizing Saturday night’s award ceremony since before the pandemic began.

“We’ve never done something so big,” Pfeiffer told the News + Record. “I just wanted to shine a brighter spotlight on the great students, and schools, and educators. That’s what we set out to do and that’s what we did.”

Pfeiffer said by providing a spotlight, he hopes educators and students will improve themselves. He called the night an absolute success and said he hopes to make it bigger and better next year.

For more information about the event and NCASA visit ncscholastic.org.

Reporter Ben Rappaport can be reached at brappaport@chathamnr.com or @b_rappaport.

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