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South Cobb High School Reading Team to compete in State Championship


A reading program at South Cobb High School recently won two reading Bowls and are now on their way to the State Championship.  

After placing first at the West Georgia Divisional Bowl and Cobb County Bowl, South Cobb’s Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl team will now compete on March 19 against five other teams from across the state of Georgia. 

The Reading Bowl is an annual competition in which teams of students from different schools compete to test their knowledge of selected books, which change yearly.

South Cobb High’s team has been tirelessly preparing outside of the classroom by reading up to 20 teen fiction books, coach Brian Ragsdale, a media specialist at the school, said. Ragsdale started the South Cobb Reading Bowl team nine years ago after being involved with the program at other schools in the past. “The reason behind starting (the team at South Cobb High) was that I wanted the kids to know that they could compete against anybody when it came to academics,” Ragsdale said.

Team members include Airat Molumo, Crystal Oleka, Victoria Vasquez, Toluwanimi Rufai, Sofiat Olanigan, Josephine Oladoge, India Heath, Lilee Ogle, Alexandria Bell, Victory Ladipo, Sara Acheampong, Patience Bridges, and Elijah Wilson. The team’s coaches are Brian Ragsdale, Michelle Hardy, and Maureen McGee.

Helen Ruffin, a Library Media Specialist at Sky Haven Elementary School in DeKalb County, created The Reading Bowl competition in 1986. In a competitive game format, students were questioned about the content of the 20 Georgia Book Award Nominees each year. In 2000, after Ruffin’s retirement, several Library Media Specialists formed the DeKalb County Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl. Other school districts in Georgia heard about this unique reading initiative and soon wanted to join in the competition.

Today, there are six regions grouped into two divisions of schools that compete each year. The Reading Program is open to students in grades 4-12 across the state. Elementary and middle school students read and are quizzed on the 20 Georgia Book Award Nominees, while high school students read and are quizzed on the 20 Georgia Peach Teen Book Award Nominees. The books change yearly. For more information, visit https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/hrrb/about-us/.


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