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Johnsburg Elementary School hosts inaugural Bloodhound Bowl

Students in D-12's Academically Talented program participate

A team of Johnsburg Elementary School students in the Academically Talented program tries to put together a puzzle with no clues about the finished image during the Bloodhound Bowl scholastic competition April 11.
A team of Johnsburg Elementary School students in the Academically Talented program tries to put together a puzzle with no clues about the finished image during the Bloodhound Bowl scholastic competition April 11.

Johnsburg Elementary School hosted its first Bloodhound Bowl on April 11. The competition of wits is named for the school mascot, Shadow the Bloodhound. The event was the idea of teacher Joseph Bellak, who teaches the students in the school’s Academically Talented program.

Students came up with team names, and many had themed outfits for the contest.

Planning for the event started in the winter, when Bellak emailed parents to survey interest for the competition. Parents then were asked to come up with an activity that would offer a scholastically competitive challenge.

There was a variety of ideas, including construction of balloon towers, catapult testing and escape rooms and boxes. Ten teams of six to seven students in third through fifth grade competed. Each team had nine minutes at each station, and they used teamwork, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills to complete each challenge. Teams were scored at each station by parent volunteers.  

Johnsburg School District 12’s Academically Talented program is in its third year. It was designed by a committee of educators and parents and led by District 12 curriculum director Terie Englebrecht.

Students gain entry into the program based on test scores and evidence of advanced academic capability. The program currently serves about 100 of the district’s students from second through fifth grade.

Johnsburg Elementary School Principal Bridget Belcastro said she was delighted with the efforts at the competition.

“What impressed me most about this event was that our parents created the challenging activities for the competition,” Belcastro said.  “And I was thrilled to see the joy and excitement the students demonstrated as they worked on those challenges.” 

The Bloodhound Bowl’s winning team was the Doggos, who were awarded a trophy by the school mascot. Each team member will get to take home the trophy – an engraved dog bowl – for a night, in the spirit of the Stanley Cup.

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