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Compete off the field 

At Porter-Gaud, we understand that each student is unique in their gifts, interests, and abilities. We offer a wide variety of academic competitions that capture their interests and challenge them to develop their talents. Each team builds community among its members by stressing the importance of collaboration while also sharpening students’ minds through stimulating, challenging tasks that enhance what they are learning in the classroom. Throughout the school’s history, Porter-Gaud Middle School and Upper School students have achieved high levels of success in earning regional and state championships.

Quiz Bowl

Quiz Bowl was (re)founded spring 2017, the sesquicentennial year of Porter-Gaud School. SCISA Regional Champions 2018 and 2019, two-time qualifier for the Small School Nationals, the competitive Academic Team continues to build upon its precocious start. The team hosts the Porter-Gaud Invitational Tournament, a National Academic Quiz Tournament qualifier, in the spring, one of approximately twelve tournaments attended during the academic year.

Goals of Quiz Bowl experience:

  • To provide a forum for intellectual stimulation and fellowship for all interested Porter-Gaud Upper School students 
  • To establish a competitive traveling team to compete in South Carolina and beyond. An outlet for academic excellence, Quiz Bowl should foster continued intellectual growth beyond the classroom, and the Academic Team should project our brightest onto the greater academic community.

Math

Middle and Upper School math teams compete against other independent and public schools across Charleston and South Carolina. Each meet is broken down into three categories: geometry, algebra, and advanced math. Porter-Gaud is consistently on the leaderboard. Other competitions include national MATHCOUNTS competition.

The Porter-Gaud Middle School Math Team won the 2019 Charleston Chapter MATHCOUNTS Competition. Three rounds of intense competition provided the format for the contest, which included a Sprint Round (30 questions, 40 minutes, no calculator), a Target Round (8 questions, 24 minutes, calculator), and a Team Round (10 questions, 20 minutes, calculator). 

 

Government

Porter-Gaud students have the opportunity to be a part of Youth in Government (YIG) and Model UN delegations in both Middle and Upper School. 

Youth in Government delegations help to create the next generation of good citizens by demystifying governmental systems so our students will know how to affect change in their communities. Students participate in the Upper School and Middle School Model Legislatures held in Columbia, SC each year. 

Model UN is a simulation of UN organizations such as the UN General Assembly, UN Security Council, UNICEF, and others. Its participants take the roles of ambassadors from various countries and debate current issues.  Conferences occur throughout the year across the Southeast. 

 

Spelling

Middle School students compete in spelling bee tournaments with public and private schools across South Carolina and the Southeast. In 2019, Rivers Clair '25 was named the 2019 6th Grade South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) State Spelling Bee Champion.  She bested 15 other students at Wiliamsburg Academy in Kingstree, SC, to claim the title. Rivers spelled all of the following words correctly: fickle, brackish, sputnik, altar, airy, gymnasium, analogy, aul, koan, agog, sitzmark, carcinogen, and chromosome. At the SCISA Spelling Bee this year, Porter-Gaud captured 2nd place in the overall team competition.  

 

Quiz Bowl Earns SCISA State Title

The foundation was laid over three years ago with the first Quiz Bowl players who
attended the initial spring practices with no season at stake. They just wanted to
play. Each subsequent year, the Porter-Gaud Academic Team has matured,
distinguishing itself as SCISA Regional Champions in 2017, 2018, and 2019. When
playing in tournaments featuring the largest state schools with robust Quiz Bowl
traditions, Porter-Gaud now may be the rough equivalent of a ‘mid-major’ and
no longer a surprise ‘on the circuit’. Our short history has been described as
‘precocious’ and ‘full of potential’. Annemarie Thompson, Tillson Galloway,
Caroline Linkous, Eleanor Lee, Becky Van Kirk– just to name a handful of past
captains– helped to establish those successful, fledgling teams. Quiz Bowl at
Porter-Gaud enjoys the luxury of ‘deep’ practices that often ‘max out’ our
buzzer capacity; most of our students are heavily involved in other co-curricular
activities and our meritocracy permits over twenty students to rotate in as best
fits their current schedules. They just want to play. We acknowledge Kenneth
Lynch’s successful Middle School program, from whom we inherit experienced
and passionate players, for instilling a great deal of that inherent desire to
compete.

Quiz Bowl can be a fickle endeavor: during one game, a player’s contribution
might be limited only by how fast she can signal; an hour later, the same person
can sit in silence through forty minutes of ‘tossups’ with scarcely an inkling, much
less a dared response. Every experienced player recognizes this competitive
truism. Quiz Bowl, therefore, exemplifies quite the ‘team sport’. The regional
champions reprised their rotation: Seniors Victoria Johnson and Ballard Morton
were complemented by Freshman Ethan Lehrman, essentially our ‘humanities’
specialists; math and science received greater attention from Juniors Luke Flynn
(team high-scorer for the day) and Daniel Newlands (captain). Their collective
experience and erudition permitted round-specific substitutions that culminated
in yet another team ‘first’ for the Fall Season:

On Thursday 24 October, on the last question, by a mere five points
(the smallest possible increment), against a very talented Holy Trinity
Classical Christian School, Porter-Gaud won the SCISA State Quiz
Bowl Tournament. Congratulations. Porter victor!

Posted by Christopher Greenwell, US faculty and team adviser

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