You Are Cordially Invited to Attend
The 2012 Black Saga Competition Awards Reception
Sunday, April 15, 2012
The University of Maryland Baltimore County Ballroom
Main Campus, 1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, MD 21250
3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
This Awards Banquet will recognize the 2012 Black Saga Competition Top Ten Teams of the Elementary and Middle School levels; Coordinators who completed their third year of service to the Competition in 2012; and Special Award Winners, including Sponsors, Contributors and Volunteers.
(Information about tickets and
directions to the Banquet can be found in another announcement to follow. )
RSVP: To Dr. Charles Christian at
By Friday, April 8, 2012
Charles Christian, Ph.D.
Black Saga Competition
March 20, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Students Showcase Knowledge of Black History at
15th Annual Black Saga Competition
March 20, 2012—On March 17, 2011, hundreds of Elementary and Middle School students converged on the campus of Towson University to test their knowledge of the African American experience. As early as 7:00, they began arriving at the 15th Annual Statewide Black Saga Competition at Towson University.
Students, along with their families, teacher coordinators, principals and supporters continued steaming in until they had filled all 700 seats in Burdick Gymnasium. And while some remained standing in the back corner, the day started with welcome addresses from Dr. Christian, founder of the Competition, Mr. Victor Collins, Assistant Vice President for Student and Academic Diversity at Towson University, and Mr. Ted Mack, chairperson of the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture.
The preliminary rounds started about 9am with students answering questions in 12 rounds, focusing on early history, explorers, inventors, newspapers, sports, music, education, performing arts, millionaires, cities, science and landmarks. The diversity of questions underscores the nature of the African American experience—i.e., it is more than the four or five icons that are most frequently talked about.
Diversity has become one of the hallmarks of the Competition as just about every ethnic group in Maryland was represented on one or more of the school teams.
After two hours of questioning, the ten teams with the highest scores emerged from the Student Union and reconvened at Burdick Hall. They were then encouraged by their parents and teacher coordinators to do their best in the Championship Rounds. Dr. Christian, the moderator, began calling their schools that had advanced—Arnold (Anne Arundel County), West Towson (Baltimore County), Hillcrest (Baltimore County), Cedarmere (Baltimore County), Deep Run (Baltimore County), Hammond (Team 2) (Howard County), Ilchester (Howard County), Perrywood (Prince George’s County), Pinewood (Baltimore County), Forest Ridge (Howard County), and Hammond (Team 1) (Howard County). These were the Top Ten teams in Maryland that knew the most about the African American experience.
This was the Championship Round . . . and these young students knew it and they were ready. In a bellowing manner, Christian said, “This is the Elementary Championship Competition and this is Round 1. It is titled, ‘Remembering the Past.’” Each team reached for an envelope, a sheet of paper and their marker as instructed, and they pulled a photograph from an envelope. Christian read the question:
“This house in Dayton, Ohio was the home of an African American poet . . . He achieved considerable fame upon publication of his book, Lyrics of Lowly Life. Name him.
This question was designed to relax the teams . . . and it did because all teams received one point for their correct answer. The next round was not so easy, it was “U.S. History On the Road” and each team had a different question but it, too, contained photographs. Round 3 was about a U.S. Supreme Court Decision, and the other rounds included topics such as education, African American artist and their artwork, geography, elected officials, and words of wisdom. It was a tough competition and when Dr. Christian asked the audience about the toughness of the Competition, the audience stood and gave the Top Ten contestants a standing ovation.
Because making it to the Top Ten in the Championship Rounds is difficult, all of these teams are noteworthy winners and each team member receives a copy of Christian’s book (Black Saga), a certificate, and their names on a “Top Ten” School plaque that goes to the school. The fourth and fifth place teams received trophies in addition to Black Saga books, certificates and school plaques. Winners were Deep Run (5th) and Ilchester (4th). The top three teams receive Black Saga books, certificate, school plaques and cash prizes of $100, $200, and $300 respectively to 3rd, 2nd, and 1st places. The top three winners were Hammond Elementary, Team 1; Hammond Elementary, Team 2; and Forest Ridge Elementary Schools.
Congratulations to the teams that received Top Ten team status in the 15th Annual Black Saga Competition. In addition to a spirited Competition, all teams did a wonderful job and their high scores reflect their hard work. As Christian said, “These young people know more about the African American experience than 85 percent of the national adult population.”
The Middle School Black Saga Competition was equally exciting this year. Several teams were returning with the same team members, including the Champions last year from Severn River Middle.
It turned out to be great competition; all the teams were very prepared and capable of being this year’s champions. Among the teams winning Top Ten team honors were Deer Park (Team 1) and Deer Park (Team 2) (Baltimore County), Folly Quarter (Howard County), Severn River (Team 2), and Patuxent Valley (Team 1).
The top five teams were exceptionally good, with Sudbrook (Baltimore County) and Hammond (Howard County) occupying 4th and 5th places, respectively.
In the top three placements in the 15th Annual State Black Saga Competition is Bonnie Branch (Howard County) who clinched the tiebreaker from Subdbrook Middle Magnet (Baltimore County) to win third and fourth places, respectively. They won trophies, certificates, Black Saga books and each received $100.
The Championship was a battle between Ridgely (Baltimore County) and Severn River (Anne Arundel County). It came down to the last question as Severn River was hoping for a chance to tie and move ahead, but Ridgely stayed ahead from the very first question to rack up a perfect score of 12 possible points.
Both the Champions and the runner-up team were gracious. Dr. Christian acknowledged them as the teams that know the most about the African American experience in the State of Maryland. In addition to their certificates, books, plaques, and cash prizes of $300 and $200, respectively for first and second places, they had an opportunity to showcase some of their knowledge of the African American experience before Governor Martin O’Malley who honored all the Top Ten winners with his presence, his words of wisdom, a hand shake, and taking a photo with each team.
A hearty thank you was extended to all the participants, moms and dads, teacher coordinators and principals who helped students prepare for the Competition, including volunteers, Towson University, Coppin State University, and Governor Martin O’Malley who helped to make the 15th Annual Maryland State Black Saga Competition more than a success, but a memorable event that the winners will forever cherish.
Charles Christian, Ph.D.
Black Saga Competition
March 18, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Governor O’Malley Surprises Middle School Winners at 15th Annual State Black Saga Competition
March 18, 2012, Towson University—Middle School students, in the middle of Round 9 of the State Black Saga Competition entitled “Black Artists and their Artwork”, were not terribly shaken when a “man in black” walked stately from the doors in the back of Burdick Gymnasium and sat in the front row. While they were answering questions about artists and their artwork, they wondered who he was. But they were not distracted because there was no entourage of folks following him nor were there police and handlers guiding him where to sit.
When Round 9 was completed, and before Dr. Christian announced the winners, he turned to the “man in black”, acknowledged him as Maryland’s Governor Martin O’Malley, and asked him to come up to the podium and say a few words. At least one person did not catch the name of the “man in black” and asked Dr. Christian, who is this person? When Christian said Governor Martin O’Malley, the person was slightly surprised and uttered “Really!”
Somehow, the students on the stage, those Top Ten winners knew who it was because one of the rules in the Competition was to “listen closely”. They were completely shocked and excited that the Governor would take time out to come and see them participate.
A congratulatory speech from the Governor echoed how much they were contributing to the high educational standards and status of the great state of Maryland and the importance of the African American experience in American history. He then shook hands with each member of the Top Ten teams and posed with them in a photo as they received their awards.
One of the parents was overheard saying, “This has been a wonderful day. We won the Competition and the Governor was here to see it. Wow! What a day. This is something these children will never forget”.
With cameras flashing and clicking, the Governor, while rushing to another occasion, was stopped frequently as he left as students, volunteers, parents, and supporters stopped him to sign their Black Saga book, program, or just to thank him for coming.
After his departure, the buzz continued. The 15th Annual Maryland State Black Saga Competition will forever be a part of their history—the student, their parents and coordinators, and the supporters who participated in the Middle School Black Saga Competition.
Charles Christian, Ph.D.
Black Saga Competition
March 15, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Maryland State Black Saga Competition 2012
Involves Outstanding Students . . .and Parent, Too!
(March 15, 2012—Baltimore County)—Call it a family affair at this year’s 15th Annual Maryland State Black Saga Competition on Saturday, March 17 at Towson State University, in the Burdick Gymnasium and Student Union. Hundreds of students, teachers, school administrators, parents, and others from around the state will converge on Towson’s campus at 8am to participate in the 15th Annual State Black Saga Competition.
The Competition, while still aimed at helping elementary and middle school students learn about the African American experience, has expanded beyond just students. Because these students have engaged their families in the study of American history, moms, dads, and siblings have learned, too, and now they will get a chance to showcase their knowledge of the African American experience in a companion competition. “Both the student and family Black Saga Competitions will be equally challenging, captivating, and exciting . . . and they will be going on at the same time.” says Dr. Charles Christian, founder and director of the Black Saga Competition.
Competing at Towson is the end of six-months of rigorous studying. Students and their parents have been quizzing each other on many aspects of the African American experience, but mostly about the significant accomplishments and contributions of African Americans in the development of this great nation.
Although the competition is geared mainly toward helping elementary and middle school learn a more inclusive American history, both students and family members have gained additional rewards from participating, aside from learning about this part of American history for the first time. Students have gained insights into teamwork, cultural awareness, academic excellence, life skills, and a “sense of family”. For parents, they have gotten a better sense of how to help their children compete and manage their time more wisely. Included among these intangibles are the payoffs in cash and other prizes for students and family members.
According to Dr. Christian, “It’s not about the money and prizes; it’s about the “competition” and “bragging rights”—to be the best. Walking away with money, prizes, and even trophies is secondary.”
After the Elementary preliminary rounds, ten teams with the highest scores advance to the Elementary Championship Rounds where they are asked about people, places, events, words of wisdom, U.S. Supreme Court cases, landmarks and monuments, and “Black Artist and their Artwork”—a new category added for this year. From these ten teams (three students per team), there will emerge “the team that knows the most about the African American experience in the State of Maryland.”
At a later date, Governor Martin O’Malley will hosts a “Meet and Greet” Reception to honor the “Top Ten” teams, their families, and teacher coordinators. This will be the second time that Governor O’Malley has done this; he did it in 2010. At that reception, he acknowledged that the winning students were contributing to the high educational standards in Maryland.
The Black Saga Competition is an award-winning learning activity that helps elementary and middle school students learn about the people, places, events, and word of wisdom that shaped the culture and identity of African Americans in the United States.
To learn more about the Black Saga Competition, go to www.blacksaga.org . The Black Saga Competition is the brainchild of Dr. Charles M. Christian, professor at Coppin State University.
Black Saga State Competition, 2012
Date: March 4, 2012
To: Coordinators, Parents, Students, and Supporters
Re: Last Minute Details about the 2012 State Competition
Thanks to all of you for participating in the 2012 Black Saga State Competition. Many schools are new to the Competition so we are trying to include as much information as possible in this memo.
Please pass this information to participating students and their family members. This memo provides information and the schedule we will follow for the Black Saga State Competition. These guidelines are used to ensure a fair competition. Thank you and we look forward to seeing you on March 17.
Date of Competition: Saturday, March 17, 2012
Where it will take place: Towson University Union and Burdick Hall, Towson, MD (see directions below)
Time of the competition:
• The Elementary School Competition registration begins at 8:00 am in Burdick Hall. The Welcome Program will begin at 8:30 in Burdick Hall gymnasium and Preliminary rounds start at 9:00 in the University Union. We hope to begin the Championship Rounds in Burdick Hall at 11:00 and end by 12:30 pm.
• The Middle School Competition registration begins at 1:15 am in Burdick Hall. The Welcome Program will begin at 1:30 in the Burdick Hall gymnasium and Preliminary rounds will begin at 2:00 in the University Union. We hope to begin the Championship Rounds at 3:30 pm and end by 4:40 pm.
Once the Welcome Program has been concluded, students will then go to their assigned rooms in the Towson University Union for the Preliminary Competition. Students may be accompanied by their coordinator(s) or principal. In the event that the coordinator(s) cannot attend, a parent coach or other designated individual may accompany the teams, but no more than two adults per school. Parents and family members will not be allowed in the rooms for the Preliminary Competition, as is the case in other academic competitions. Parents and family members will have their own program in Burdick Hall gymnasium while the students are completion. We know parents and family members want to see their children participate and students want to show their family members what they have learned. However, due to limitations imposed upon us (the size of the facilities, the number of teams, the room occupancy regulations and fire codes), only the teams of students and the coordinators/principal can enter the rooms where competitions occur. Please be sure everyone knows this rule. Judges in the room will allow only the coordinator/principals in the room.
FYI. Please note that on this day, there may be photographers, including our own, taking photos of the Preliminary and Final Competitions.
All parents, family members, coordinators, principals and friends are welcome to attend the Final Competition held in Burdick Hall gymnasium.
Breakfast treats will be provided to participating students in Burdick Hall during the Registration time periods. “Paws” a restaurant at the lower level of the University Union, will be open for refreshments during the Competition for your convenience. Breakfast treats, snacks, and sandwiches will be available for cost.
SPECIFIC INFORMATION FOR BLACK SAGA COORDINATORS
We have implemented several procedures to ensure fairness in the Black Saga State Competition.
• Only the Black Saga School Coordinator or Principal can pick up his/her school’s Registration Packet at the Registration table in Burdick Hall on the day of the State competition. Please make sure your students and their families are aware of this procedure.
The Registration Packet will include the following:
• name tag for each participating student; each student must have a name tag to be admitted into rooms for the Preliminary Competition.
• name tags for the coordinators and/or principals
• room assignment for the teams in the Preliminary Competition in the University Union. If your school has two teams, both will be competing in the same room.
• a page of Directions for Coordinators to remind you of procedures used during the day
• Certificates of Appreciation for the school coordinators and principals
• When the Welcome Program is completed, students are dismissed to go to their assigned break-out room in the University Union (adjacent to Burdick Hall). Judges will meet them at the door. Each student must have a name tag to participate. Judges will seat the teams at the appropriate tables. No one will be admitted without a name tag.
• The Questioner will read the rules and procedures for the Preliminary rounds to the teams.
• Once the Preliminary question rounds begin in the room to which your teams are assigned, no further teams will be allowed to compete. If you are not on time, your team(s) will not be able to enter the room and compete.
• After the Rounds are completed, teams remain in the room until team scores from all the rooms are reviewed, ranked, and the top 10 teams identified. The teams with the top 10 scores advance to the Final Competition. Some rooms may have more than one team advance to the Finals; some rooms may not have any team advance.
• While the scores are being reviewed, students will receive medals in their room acknowledging their participation in the Competition.
• The Judge will return to the room and announce which teams, if any will advance.
• After the Preliminary Rounds are finished, all students are requested to return to Burdick Hall where teams participating in the Black Saga Competition Championship Rounds will be announced before taking the stage.
*** NOTE: If you are informed that your school has one or both teams advancing to the Final Competition:
• proceed immediately to Burdick Hall with the students and their team name card from the Preliminary Room.
• meet Mrs. Robeson in Burdick Hall in the hallway on the left side of the stage.
• students will then have a chance for a bathroom break. Water and a snack will be available.
• students will be given further information before going onto the stage.
Directions to Towson University:
From I-95: Take the Baltimore Beltway I-695 west (toward Towson). Take exit 25, Charles Street, south. Proceed approximately 1.7 miles. Turn left on Towsontown Boulevard and proceed to the first stoplight. Turn right on Osler Drive and then turn left onto Cross Campus Drive. This takes you to the Union Garage, the Union, and Burdick Hall. Signs will be posted. If you need further directions and a map, check the Towson University website www.towson.edu. On the left hand column, click on “Information Visitors.”
Parking is available in the Towson University Union Garage. DO NOT PARK IN ANY LOT DESIGNATED AS RESTRICTED TO FACULTY AND STAFF ONLY (even if the gate is open!). General parking is not permitted in any handicapped places or others designated by signs. You will be ticketed for parking in any unauthorized parking facilities. Parking tickets are expensive and are the responsibility of the visitors. Buses will be directed to appropriate parking.
Distinguished Professor, Coppin State University;
Founder and Host
2012 Black Saga Competition Awards Banquet
Details to come....
Thank you to all who have registered for the 2011-2012 Black Saga Competition. As usual, we are looking forward to another great year of learning.
The deadline for registering for the 2011-2012 Black Saga Competition is fast approaching. It is November 17, 2011--less than a couple of weeks away. When the deadline is past, no other schools can register or participate in the Black Saga Competition.
If you would like to introduce your students to a competitive-style learning activity, then this Competition is for you. If you would like to introduce your students to a culturally-enriched learning activity involving the African American experience—a part of American history that is frequently not taught, then this is for you. If you would like your students to enhance their study skills and better understand time management, this Competition is for you. If you would like your students to better understand and appreciate teamwork, this Competition is for you. If you would like to help your students answer critical social studies questions such as: What happened in the past? How am I connected to the people of the past? How can we see lives as part of the larger human story across time and space? Then, the Black Saga Competition is for you and your students.
Consider enriching your teaching of social studies, geography, economics, and American history with the Black Saga Competition. Start a “Black Saga Club” in your school and start exploring the African American experience in a fun and competitive way.
Thousands of students have participated over the last twenty or so years. You can help others know a more inclusive American history. “You can know American history without knowing the African American experience.”
To know more about the Black Saga Competition, please visit us at blacksaga.org and see what they are saying about the Black Saga Competition.
Thank you for your time . . . and don’t forget to register.
Charles Christian, Founder and Director
Black Saga Competition