Bob Jones ties for Envirothon state championship

Bob Jones students who tied for the Envirothon state championship are Shannon Lambert, from left, Brody DeSilva, Alan Waring, Nisha Patel and Morgan Pennington. (CONTRIBUTED)
Bob Jones students who tied for the Envirothon state championship are Shannon Lambert, from left, Brody DeSilva, Alan Waring, Nisha Patel and Morgan Pennington. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Bob Jones High School tied for championship honors at the Alabama State Envirothon Competition on April 10-12 at the 4H Center on Lake Lay near Columbiana.

Bob Jones team includes Brody DeSilva, Shannon Lambert, Nisha Patel, Morgan Pennington and Alan Waring. Eight five-member teams advanced to compete at the state level.

Less than one point separated the scores for Bob Jones and Red Bay High School.

“The big picture of this whole competition is to help today’s youth become more ecologically and environmentally aware,” faculty sponsor Ben Johnston said.

Envirothon members must take advance-placement biology, environmental science or both. “I handpicked students that are high achievers and (interested) in wildlife, aquatics, forestry, soils or environmental science,” Johnston said.

At Envirothon, Bob Jones won the aquatics and wildlife divisions, after attending mini-courses on those subjects and soils and forestry. The team also had to solve a special scenario with an oral presentation without help from or discussion with Johnston.

On April 12, Bob Jones presented twice to judges and “totally blew me away,” Johnston said. “The top three teams from combined written and oral scores then presented in front of everyone.”

Teams received a special issue set on a Limestone County farm “passed down from one generation to the next. The parents are reluctant to embrace organic farming although the kids are,” Johnston said. Bob Jones attempted to convince the parents (judges) to pursue organic farming for ecological, social and economic benefits.

Student had 17 to 20 minutes to present. Judges then questioned the team for 20 minutes.

Sam Sandlin with Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District advised the team.

“I wish everyone could witness these kids before, during and after competition. (Everyone) would feel confident in the future and public education,” Johnston said.

Johnston received feedback about his team’s courtesy. “One kid from another school was feeling left out. My team included him in a game of basketball,” Johnston said. That student later said playing basketball with the Bob Jones team was the highlight of his trip.”

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