Franklin third at state

Franklin celebrates its third-place finish Friday.

UPDATE: Franklin's Scholastic Bowl team returned to Champaign with another state trophy after finishing third at the IESA Class AA tournament in Peoria.

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Members of Franklin STEAM Academy’s Scholastic Bowl team each do their best impersonation of the statue ‘The Thinker’ in front of the school in Champaign on Wednesday. From left, (front) Parker Kesler and Joseph To; (middle) Arhan Salapaka, Taylor Thomassie, Luke Stevens, Sohum Gurrapu, Evan Larson, Chloe Lee, Jaehyun Yi and Anushri Sinha; and (back) Joshua Kim, Avery Lau, Aldous Joyce, Minjoon Choi, coach Tracey Jones and Luke Miao.

On Friday morning, students and staff at Franklin STEAM Academy will line the hallways as part of a rousing sendoff for the school’s state-bound Scholastic Bowl team comprised of 15 seventh- and eighth-graders.

It’s a big deal for a tradition-rich program.

“The last time we went (to state in 2019), it brought tears to my eyes,” longtime coach Tracey Jones said. “The kids truly were cheering us on — for a Scholastic Bowl competition. At a lot of schools, academic success doesn’t get that kind of attention. That’s not the case here.”

Jones, a math teacher in her 37th year at Franklin, founded the Scholastic Bowl program about 15 years ago. Since then, the Knights have reached the Illinois Elementary School Association state tournament a remarkable seven times, bringing home three state trophies. Perhaps this is the year for a title breakthough; Franklin mercy-ruled its three opponents at Monday’s sectional in Mahomet

What’s the secret?

“Building a team with a depth of knowledge and teaching them that it’s truly a team sport,” said Jones, whose Knights are in the eight-team Class AA field at Peoria Civic Center. “It’s such a big venue, but you can’t get all uptight and nervous because your brain won’t work.”

— Jim Rossow