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Quiz Bowl coaches finalists for statewide awards

Two LCPS educators are finalists for statewide awards from the North Carolina Association for Scholastic Activities, recognizing their work with school Quiz Bowl teams.

Math teacher Samantha Croom of Lenoir County Early College High School is one of two finalists for the 2023 NCASA New Coach of the Year Award and Kinston High School media coordinator Sara Levin is one of two finalists for the 2023 NCASA Coach of the Year Award.

Both coach their school’s Quiz Bowl team and have led the teams into regional competition.

Samantha Croom“These nominations are a true testament to the hours of hard work that our teachers dedicate to our students in Lenoir County Public Schools every day to make sure that there are opportunities for learning and exploring interests beyond the school day,” said Christel Carlyle, the district’s director of middle grades education and a member of the NCASA board of directors. “Both Ms. Levin and Ms. Croom are to be commended for their efforts and they certainly make us very proud!”

Croom organized Early College’s first Quiz Bowl team in January and, after two months of coaching, took the team to its first competition, a regional event in which Early College finished fourth.

Along the way, she led fundraising activities in order to buy study materials and a buzzer system the team can use in practice. The team practices at least weekly and has involved up to 16 students.

“I just wanted something for these kids to do and I know they enjoy competitions,” Croom said. “I decided I would let them do Quiz Bowl and I would facilitate it and it ended up being this. I’ve really enjoyed it and they’ve really been enjoying it and hopefully in the next year or two we can get a really strong team together.”

Sara LevinLevin, who came to Kinston High in 2019, added Quiz Bowl to a list of coaching duties that include Battle of the Books, Science Olympiad and First Tech Challenge Robotics competition.

Working with Quiz Bowl –where students are peppered with questions related to current events, pop culture, English literature, history and a range of other academic subjects – appeals to the librarian in her.

“I get a chance to help students learn how to access information, to dig into subjects,” she said. “As for the students, in terms of camaraderie and fun, they’ve had a great season.”

Levin and Croom plan to attend the NCASA awards showcase in Greensboro on May 13, where finalists for all awards will be recognized and winners announced.