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NSSC 2009 Commentary: Award Ceremony

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Go to: Before the Tournament, Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, Round 4, Round 5, Round 6, Final Round 1, Award Ceremony.

Awards Ceremony

As John D. Williams, Jr., led the two finalist teams onto the stage of the viewing room, their fans leapt up and cheered loudly. John held all four students arms over their heads in a celebration of victory and the finalists were all broadly smiling. Stefan Fatsis conducted quick interviews with both Salem Elementary #1 (NC) and Glenfield/Collins Elementary Schools (NJ) and they were gracious and sportsmanlike.

The winning team admitted that they had originally set out to win only one game at the event. After one game, they then set their goal at three wins. Stefan then asked, "When did you set out to win all seven and end the event undefeated?" The answer was quick and funny, "After we won six!"

Salem Elementary #1 (NC) congratulated Glenfield/Collins Elementary Schools (NJ) on being "exceptional opponents" in the 342-301 championship game.

NSSC director, Ben Greenwood, then took the microphone and launched into the awards. He called out the winner of the Sportsmanship Award (chosen randomly from the ones submitted). Buckingham Browne Middle School (MA) was selected for agreeing to a tie in game that had been determined to be a win for them. The submission noted that the twin sisters, Evagelia and Katerina, are used to sharing everything, so sharing a win just seemed to make sense.

A prize for the event's high loss, fittingly, was awarded to Atlanta- Pinckneyville Middle School (GA) for their round 6 loss to Glenfield/Collins Elementary Schools (NJ), 429-440.

Prizes were then awarded to the high wins for a mixed-grade team, White Plains SCRABBLE Club (NY); 5th grade team, Salem Elementary #2 (NC); 6th grade team, Janney Elementary School #1 (DC); 7th grade team, Lexington MA SCRABBLE Club #108 (MA); and 8th grade team, Dalton School (NY).

And then, a dual delight for Salem Elementary #2 (NC), who in round 6 played QUIZzES for 118, which qualified them for two prizes: high bingo and high Q play. In addition to the book Everything SCRABBLE, the students received one Shaquille O'Neal signed jersey.

As the students were announced by Ben Greenwood, they made their way to the giant board and posed for photos with their prizes.

The ceremony then moved to the top 10 finishers. Each team received game packages and trophies (one for each student and one for the coach).

Each team received a hearty round of applause: 10th Winterhaven (OR), 9th Ridgefield Library #1 (CT), 8th Glenfield Middle School (NJ), 7th New West Charter (CA), 6th Ridgefield Library #2 (CT), and 5th Our Lady of Victory Baltimore #1 (MD).

Then 4th place Atlanta- Pinckneyville Middle School (GA) was called up and the room erupted in tremendous applause and everyone stood. It was a giant gesture of respect for Allison and Joey. They knew Joey had finished this event second twice before and in his 8th grade year, his final year to play, his tremendous success in both School SCRABBLE and competitive SCRABBLE (he has a 1556 rating in competitive play) was overwhelmingly expressed with a sustained standing ovation. Well deserved!

In much the same vein, 8th graders, Benjamin Marrow and William Ezekowitz of Princeton Day School (NJ) received a hearty applause for their strong showing in their last year of NSSC participation. Their coach, Deborah Lunder (Williams' mother), expressed a sadness after the ceremony. She's been involved in School SCRABBLE, attending every NSSC so far, either with William's older brother, John (a former NSSC champion) or with William. Whether her sons played with Buckingham Brown & Nichols teams (Cambridge, MA-based) or Princeton Day School teams (Princeton, NJ), she has been here. Great players, great coaching!

And then, it was the finalists' turn for trophies, photos, and posing with the giant check! First Glenfield/Collins Elementary Schools (NJ) took second place honors, posing with their proud coach, Sam Rosin. Then, it was time for the giant check and the silver cup trophies. Salem Elementary #1 (NC) and their coach, Adair Salgado (Erik's mother) posed between Hasbro's Phillip Jackson and the NSA's John D. Williams, Jr.

More cheers, more applause, more posing, some autographs, and photos with the champions continued for the next hour or so.

Please see all the prizes distributed at the site's prizes link.

We look foward to the next NSSC!

Congrats Salem Elementary #1 (NC) on being our NSSC champs all year long!