Oklahoma Junior Academic Bowl Association

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 Message from the OJABA President
Jane Shi
(Bessie Jane Shi, 1933-2018)

    Jane Shi was our executive vice-president, and until this year was the vice-president in charge of Class A, our small schools.
    Jane Shi was a force to be reckoned with.
    I first met her about three decades ago because of academic bowl.  I have been involved with academic bowl since before OJABA and OSSAA became involved.  When I became aware of OJABA, I signed up my middle school teams, which led to my meeting and working with not only Jane but the other two wonderful founding matriarchs, Mary Sue Hays from Ketchum, who died in 2011, and Karen J. P. Rowden, who lives in Claremore.
    I say Jane was a force to be reckoned with, because she was passionate about everything she did, living her life full force until the day she went into the hospital because of a stroke, and she expected everyone who wanted to be involved with her to be just as passionate.
    Until her death at age 85, Jane was still working circles around me and my other three officers together.  She was still driving all over the state officiating, ordering and picking up trophies for OJABA, and mentoring new coaches.  She acquired officials for my middle school and high school tournaments and for tournaments of several other coaches around the state, as well as for all of the OJABA state tournaments.  She wrote at least 100 rounds of questions for our competitions each year.  Writing questions—the one academic bowl task I am not willing to take on—is a tedious, time-consuming job, requiring three or four hours of time spent per round.  Everything she did—buying trophies, writing questions, signing up officials—she did weeks or months in advance of when needed.  I have already received all of the rounds of questions needed for this year’s competitions, which don’t begin until January.  I don’t know where I am going to get my questions after this year.
    The following are excerpts from several OJABA coaches who responded to my emails keeping them up to date about Jane after her stroke:
    Sandy McNabb of Canton said, “Jane and I were good friends and talked a lot on the phone not only [about] OJABA but many other things.  I will miss her and I had been thinking lately that I would give her a call.  But like many other things get in the way and I was always too busy to call her.  Now I regret it!  But I know when I say a prayer for her she will hear me from heaven.  A couple of years ago I got really sick and she called and checked on me several times.  She always referred herself as my Prayer Warrior.  She was a great lady!”
    Amy Cantwell of Vanoss said, “Like you, I knew this day would come eventually, but I don’t think we were prepared for it to be this soon.  I know you will miss her as a mentor and as a friend.  She was a great person and had a true love for academic bowl.  OJABA will not be the same without her.  We here at Vanoss are deeply saddened and impacted by her loss.”
    Rhonda Sanders of Timberlake said, “I am so sorry.  I have only been a coach for three years.  My first year, Jane called me and gave me much needed advice.  She also offered her services to me any time day or night.  She didn't even know me, and she offered her help.  I praise the Father God to hear that she was a Christian.  For the ones of us who share her faith, we will see her again.  I am sure she is rejoicing in heaven today.”
    Tom Clark of Riverfield said, “Jane's passing is indeed a great loss for not just OJABA, but for all who knew her.  We were quite hopeful that Jane was on the road to recovery, this news is a blow to us all.  She was quite the force:  you knew who was in charge whenever you played in a room with her at the front table!  I will certainly miss her say, ‘Talk to you later, Sugar,’ whenever she called.”
    Cindy Dunn of Mulhall-Orlando said, “I always looked forward to talking to her when she called to remind me that I had not joined OJABA, yet.  I missed her call this year.  Thanks for letting us know.”
    Lynn Speir of Bristow said, “I visited with Jane many times in person and on the phone in the few years I have been coaching.  She impressed me of all her activities at her age!  She never failed to ask how my mother was doing, even praying and sharing scripture with me on occasion.  I could tell she was a wonderful Christian woman.  She was a blessing to me in her compassion for others.  Her brother was one of the doctors who cared for my mother at the Ada Chickasaw hospital. He was a very down-to-Earth doctor who never spoke over our heads.  [Her brother, by the way, delivered by son thirty-eight years ago in Seminole.]  It is such a blessing to have people in our lives such as these two.”
    Betty Smith, who transferred Jane’s rounds of questions to computer files, said “She was a wonderful friend to me, but I know she is in heaven playing the piano and singing with the angels. She will be sorely missed.”
    Lana Merz of Canute said, “I am heartbroken.  Jane called me back in September.  I was at Mercy Hospital with my father-in-law who was diagnosed with lung cancer.  Jane prayed on the phone with me.  It was one of the most beautiful heartfelt prayers.  It gave  my husband and myself comfort and peace.  She was a very remarkable woman who will be missed by all!”
    No one will miss Jane more than I do.  She has left a huge hole in my life that I and others will somehow will have to fill.  She was my best friend and my sister in Christ.  
     Membership enrollment concluded October 1; we have 209 member coaches this year.  More than two thirds of this year's members have paid their fees; to those who still owe your fees, remember the deadline for payment is December 1.
     Listed on the "Documents" page are links to the district and regional groupings by Class.  Check these groupings to see where you will be playing your district and regional tournaments and who is hosting each of your tournaments.  If you are a host, you should begin contacting the other teams assigned to each of your tournaments now; see the rules for time frames during which each of the tournaments should be played and for deadlines for setting tournament dates.  If you are not hosting and you do not hear from your host coaches in a timely manner about setting dates, get in touch with your host coaches and remind them about setting dates.  Later today, you will have received an email attached to which were the "Member List" for your class, so that you will be able to communicate with one another.
    Remember, as detailed in the Rules, this year in grades 5&6, 6&7, and 8&9, Classes A and B will combine to play districts and regionals together, and Classes C and D will do the same.  In 7&8 the four classes will play separately.  At State Tournaments the four classes will play separatley at all grade levels.
    Good luck with your teams this year, and remember, compete well but be sure to have fun as well.  
POSTED JULY 18, 2018:
     There are two major changes for 2018-2019:
     (1) For the first time in at least twenty years, we are raising the fee for each team entered from $60 to $75.  Mainly because of the cost of questions, we have had to borrow during the past two years to being able to be able to cover explenses through the end of each school year.  Doing the math, based upon the number of teams entered during the past school year times $15, we should at least break even at the end of 2018-2019.
     (2)  In order to keep participating teams as close to home as possible, during districts and regionals, Classes A & B will compete together and Classes C & D will compete together.  At State the four classes will compete separately as in the past.  About one third of the teams in each class will advance to State, in some cases without having won a regional trophy.  This is all explained in red in the updated rules.
     As we did with the list of books that we significantly drew from for questions used in last year's competitions, we are again giving you and your team members a heads up on books (see new book list below) and subjects that we will emphasize in our questions for the coming year.  We will especially draw questions from the following subject areas:
U.S. Presidents (numerical order, full names--including names not commonly known and extensions such as "Jr.," years in office, birth states, political parties, and Vice-presidents)
World Geography (countries, capitals, rivers, lakes, mountains, and location of each country by continent and as relates to other countries on its continent)
Chemical Elements (groups, symbols, name derivations)
U.S. States (capitals, postal abbreviations, rivers, lakes, mountains, and location of each state)
POSTED MAY 23, 2018:
Reading List for 2018-2019
     We are again giving you a heads up concerning the source of some of the questions used in our tournaments of the current year.  Some tossups and some sixty-second sets--scattered throughout the year in all four divisions--will be based upon the books listed below, which are Newbery Medal winners from the past one hundred years--at least one from each decade beginning with the 1920's.  Most of our questions will come from other subject areas, just as in the past.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña
A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck
The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg
Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt
The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong
Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
Daniel Boone by James Daugherty
Hitty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field
 POSTED MAY 23, 2018:
     Invitations to join OJABA for the 2018-2019 school year will be going out by the end of July—by email to last year's 215 member coaches, and by USPS to over 300 other non-member schools who are eligible to join.
     As we have every year, we have tweaked the rules wherever needed to make them as effective, fair, and equitable as possible.  Rules changes and "tweaks" will be printed in red in the rules booklet. By the end of July, you may view the complete 2018-2019 OJABA Rules Booklet by clicking on the link on the "Documents" page.
     There will be no state meeting this year, but on the last page of the rules, you will find phone numbers and email addresses for all of your officers.  All of us are available almost all of the time to answer your questions or to counsel you.  Feel free to call us whenever you need to.