Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind to in Academic Bowl - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind to Compete in Academic Bowl

Posted: Updated: Jan 10, 2013 09:10 PM EST

A group of students from the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind are in the nation's capital to compete against 16 other schools.

The event is the annual Academic Bowl, and the kids from Staunton believe they're a team to reckon with.

The team of four hearing-impaired students from VSDB will have to be quick with their buttons and their pens. They arrived in Washington Thursday afternoon, and quickly put their game faces on for the competition that will start Friday morning.

In the final practice round, three seniors and a junior from VSDB devoured questions ranging from current events to biology to mathematics. They've spent weeks training for the regional event at Gallaudet University.

"We have to write the answers, we have to study up on everything, and we spend a lot of time practicing together," said Hannah Mills, a junior at VSDB.

Coach Rhonda Jennings is in her ninth year of preparing deaf and hard-of-hearing students for the Academic Bowl. She has to choose her team of four.

"It's kind of a hard process, and it's a little bit strenuous. But these four are ones that have shown great motivation," Jennings said.

For this regional competition, VSDB will square off with schools from several surrounding states.

"We all like to help each other and support one another. We're all students at VSDB and we really feel like brothers and sisters. We're a really strong team," said Javier Alcazar, a senior at VSDB.

Sierra Campbell, also a senior at VSDB, said, "We want to show that VSDB can shine. We want to work together and show a united front with a really good sportsmanship attitude."

But the annual event also means four days in Washington to sightsee and socialize. "I'll meet and make new friends there, and I'll get to hang out with a lot of fun people. It'll be a new experience for me," said Timothy Smith, a senior at VSDB.

"They have an ice skating event, Saturday night they'll have a dance and a party, they'll have a banquet, that type of event. So they'll have a lot of opportunities to socialize," Jennings said.

Competition at the Academic Bowl for deaf and hard-of-hearing students will take place all day Friday and Saturday. VSDB hopes to improve on its best recent showing, a fourth place finish in 2008.

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