Tag Archives: EGUMPP

Winner triumphs in “tense” situation

Eighth grader Anna Zeng was “pronoun-ced” the the winner after working through the preliminary, regional and semi-final rounds of the Electronic Grammar Usage Mechanics Proficiency Program (EGUMPP) Grammar Bowl State Finals at Grand Canyon University on April 14.

The Arizona EGUMPP Grammar Bowl is a test and on-stage competition for 8th and 9th graders focusing on grammar concepts and terminologies. Students work through the phases of the competition, first scoring at least a 90 percent on a mastery test, then taking an online test and finally taking a timed written test to qualify for finals. Out of 500 students who start at the preliminaries phase, only 24 make it to finals.

Of the 24 finalists, seven were from BASIS schools at Oro Valley and Chandler. BASIS School, Inc. is a non-profit organization that has charter schools throughout Arizona. Zeng is from BASIS Oro Valley.

Anna Zeng and Farhan Rahman with (from left to right) former Senator John Hupenthal, Robert Safran (creator of EGUMPP) and Senator Rich Crandall. Photo courtesy of BASIS Schools, Inc.

“[Anna] displayed grace under pressure,” says BASIS Oro Valley English teacher and Grammar Bowl advisor Susie Lantz in a press release.

Having to answer more questions than many other competitors because of a random choosing for a reduction round, Zeng still won first place prizes of a $5,000 college scholarship, a trip for four to Washington D.C., and a new iPad.

Runner up, 8th grader Farhan Rahman, is from BASIS Chandler.

“We are very proud of Farhan,” says BASIS Chandler English teacher and Grammar Bowl advisor Cyndi O’Brien in a press release. “He worked hard to prepare for the finals and is already planning to compete again next year.”

Farhan and his family. Photo courtesy of BASIS Schools, Inc.

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I have a preposition for you

We have the Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl and also the Arizona EGUMPP Grammar Bowl. Bet you haven’t heard of the Grammar Bowl, much less EGUMPP.

In a previous career I was a middle school language arts teacher. I well remember trying to convince slouching adolescents the value of understanding and using proper grammar. I explained that grammar is the nuts and bolts of language; its job is holding ideas together.

Eyes rolled at the mention of predicates and subjects, indirect objects and transitive verbs no matter how hard I tried to convince them that grammar would rear its ugly, yet noble, head with every email, blog post, flirty text or cover letter they wrote.

EGUMPP stands for Electronic Grammar Usage Mechanics Proficiency Program. It was created by Safran Publishing and, yes, the company hopes to sell the program far and wide. If they can make their millions, and leave in their wake thousands of kids who know how to use the language and express coherent ideas, I’m all for it.

Each public, private and charter school in Arizona gets five free registrations for eighth and ninth graders. Beyond the first five the cost is $29 each. The deadline for registration is Jan. 7. Upon registering the students will wend their way through online and written grammar exercises for regional and semi-final rounds.

The final round of the Grammar Bowl at Grand Canyon University is a full-contact grammatical battle in front of a live audience. Each participant wields a dangling participle and a sentence fragment. The finalists tackle and subdue a run-on sentence and pummel it into a comma coma. Really. You’re not buying this, are you?

In reality, the final round is indeed in front of a live audience at Grand Canyon University Arena on April 14, 2012, with head-to-head competition between individuals demonstrating their grammar skills. The winners will take home iPads, gift cards, scholarships and trips to Washington, DC.

Deadlines approach. Interested schools can register students at AZ grammarbowl.com. — Dan Friedman