Another agonizing loss Tournament: Canton Middle School, a contender in the National Academic League contest, was defeated in the last seconds of the second round. But students scored victories to get there and learned good sportsmanship.

The Education Beat


COPPIN STATE College wasn't the only Baltimore school last week to suffer an agonizing loss in the last seconds of a national tournament game.

Four days after the Eagles' near-miracle, a team from Canton Middle School lost by two points to a middle school in Julesburg, Col., in the second round of the National Academic League tournament, a competition of the mind designed, somewhat mischievously, to shadow the much, much better-known NCAA spring basketball frenzy.

To make the trip to the regionals, Canton beat teams from 18 Baltimore schools, but the Cantonites didn't have to travel to Colorado (or Julesburg to Maryland) to play. The game took place on live, interactive television. The Canton kids were in the stuffy back room of a Kinko's copying store at White Marsh Mall. The Julesburg kids were somewhere in Colorado.

This game was decided in the last seconds of the fourth quarter, as Julesburg overcame a 7-0 first-quarter deficit. Canton simply wasn't fast enough to spell "library," and that allowed Julesburg to break a 34-34 tie as time ran out.

Regional Academic League Commissioner Bonnie Legro and the Canton coach, language arts teacher Jeffrey Hellbusch, put the best face on the defeat.

"You did a great job!" Legro told the kids as they and their parents brushed away tears. "You'll be back next year!"

Good sportsmanship -- better sportsmanship than that often displayed in the NCAA tournament -- is one of the goals of the National Academic League, according to Legro. But Education Beat couldn't help thinking the home team was robbed by a Colorado referee during the pivotal third quarter. Legro, however, would not allow the Canton kids to blame their bitter loss on someone else. That was the major accomplishment of the afternoon.

Twenty-four school districts nationally are involved in the annual tournament, which was conceived five years ago by former U.S. Education Secretary Terrel H. Bell. The Maryland teams get financial support from the Abell Foundation.

Here are some of the questions in the Julesburg-Canton game: Name three rivers that flow into the Mississippi.

Name four types of energy involved when a match is lighted.

Name the eight parts of speech.

Give the first and last name of the first woman secretary of state, the name of the president who appointed her and the year of her appointment.

Solve for x: 3x - 2=8.

Canton correctly answered the hard ones but had to learn the agony of defeat over a little Latinate word like "library."

Debit-card parking meters installed at College Park

The University of Maryland at College Park is installing parking meters that can be activated by debit cards. No need to carry change to feed 1,000 of the campus' 14,000 meters, with more on the way, according to David Allen, director of College Park's Department of Campus Parking. It's safer, too.

That a university is doing something to relieve the onerousness of parking is wonderful news. Parking for faculty, staff and students is nightmarish on many Maryland campuses, especially those in crowded urban settings and those with many commuters. Parking is getting expensive, too. It's $80 annually for a Johns Hopkins student.

Here's Education Beat's rating of the parking situation at a cross section of Maryland campuses.

College Park: * Difficult day and night.

UMBC: ** They built the school on a farm only 30 years ago and still underestimated the parking need.

Washington College in Chestertown: ***** The campus is out of central casting. The parking is heavenly.

Johns Hopkins University (Homewood): 1/2 * All that endowment, and they've never put up a multilevel garage.

Morgan State University: * You need hiking boots for the walk up Hillen.

Loyola College: * Walking is good exercise.

Notre Dame: ** This college and Loyola built a library jointly. Why not a garage?

Goucher: ***** Best of show in the metropolitan area.

Catonsville Community College: *** You have to walk, but lots recently added.

Dundalk Community College: **** The problem here is finding the campus.

Towson State University: * Too few spaces and ticket-happy campus cops.

Brightest and best still leaving state

Maryland continues to export its brightest students. Seven of 10 state students who qualify as National Merit semifinalists leave their home state for college, according to a recent report from the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

But the proportion of emigres has declined slightly since 1994, the report said. Meanwhile, it added, College Park's share of high-ability students has declined somewhat, as more of them ++ have enrolled at UMBC, St. Mary's College and Johns Hopkins.

Pub Date: 3/23/97

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