Middlesboro’s Quick Recall Team is the 2019 National Academic Quiz Tournament Small School National Champion. The team, made up of Robby Griffey, Timothy Perkins, Andrew Kelley, Danny Lin and Bishakha Kumari, won the title in a tournament in Chicago last week.
Friday, Middlesboro Mayor Rick Nelson and several MHS graduates from the Middlesboro City Council came to the school to proclaim May 10 as Middlesboro High School Academic Team Day and join a celebration in front of the entire student body.
“It’s been a great year for Middlesboro High School athletics and academics. We’re proud of each and every one of you,” Nelson told the group. “It’s my honor and privilege to congratulate these young people on the National Championship team — the teams I played on most likely couldn’t even win a district game. They brought home a national championship, something that nobody can ever take away from them. We encourage you right now to let these guys know how proud you are.”
MHS Principal Bobby Bennett opened the celebration.
“Last weekend was a really special weekend in the history of our school,” he said to the student assembly. “As far as I know there has only two national titles won ever in the 123-year history of our school. One of them was in the early 1970s in debate and now we have one in academics with our Quick Recall Team. Today we’re here to celebrate them.”
The team members and coach Richie Rogers were welcomed into the gym as the band played and the cheerleaders cheered. They even had the opportunity to make grand entrances through a tear-away sign as they were individually introduced by Mr. McClelland.
“This journey actually started four years ago when this group of seniors had it on their mind that they wanted to compete for a state championship,” Rogers said. “They worked on weekends, they worked over the summer, they worked on their own for weeks. As a coach I couldn’t have been blessed with a better group of young people to work with.
“This is a community effort, we couldn’t have done it without several people in our district helping our team out or without the support of our administration, the school board and superintendent Waylon Allen.”
This group of seniors has won four straight district championships and four straight 13th Region championships. They placed second in the state and then went to Chicago and competed against some of the top teams in the nation and came out as the Small School National Champions.
City Councilwoman Judy Grandey, a former teacher at MHS, offered her congratulations to the team.
“It is wonderful to be back on this gym floor. I am so proud to be a Jacket alumni, to be a retired educator from this school system. Middlesboro High School is no longer than wannabe school, we are that school,” she said.
City Councilman Bo Green, a MHS graduate also spoke to the team and assembly.
“When I went to school here I was on the academic team that whipped Bell County. We really thought we were something good then, but we couldn’t hold a candle to your team,” he said. “As an alumni of this school and this team I couldn’t be prouder of what you all have accomplished. Congratulations!”
City Councilman Boone Bowling graduated from MHS just a few years ago.
“It is such an honor to be with you all today. I could not be more excited for what this school has done. I’ve always been proud to call myself a Yellow Jacket but now when I walk in a room that’s the first thing I’m going to say,” he said. “This senior class is doing wonderful things and I just want to thank you all for bringing some light into this city.”