How does Margate keep doing it? Grit and effort.
From the leadership to the teachers to the students, this is a school that's committed to putting in the hard work that it takes to succeed. And when the Spartans set a goal, like mastering more words than every other middle school in the country, they come together as a community and make it happen.
Margate dominated the Middle School Division throughout the 2017-18 Vocabulary Bowl season, finishing at the top of the leaderboard in six out of seven months. When the final buzzer sounded on April 30th, the Spartans' total of nearly 300,000 words was enough to set a new division record and achieve their dream of back-to-back Vocabulary Bowl Middle School Champion titles.
Margate Middle held a pep rally and awards ceremony in the school gym on May 17th to celebrate their win. How best to describe the vibe of the event? Raucous. It's just one of the 298,390 words mastered by the students at MMS, and it's the perfect word to characterize the celebration. The school band blasted their best tunes, the cheerleaders revved everyone up, and the kids did what kids do at pep rallies — they cheered until the bleachers shook. Torrential rain and booming thunder added to the energy of the day and the noise level.
The rally was attended by hundreds of students, MMS faculty and leadership from the Broward County School District. Also attending were special guests Mayor Arlene Schwartz, Vice Mayor Anthony Caggiano, and Broward County School Board member Nora Rupert. Each shared words of support, pride and encouragement for Margate's champions.
Representatives from Vocabulary.com presented Margate's teachers with the Florida State Champion Banner and the Vocabulary Bowl Middle School Champion banner. CEO Michael Freedman presented Principal Earnest Toliver with the Vocabulary Bowl Champion cup — which Toliver hoisted to thunderous applause.
The Top 100 students were presented with medals and certificates of achievement. What does it take to be a Top 100 student at Margate? Each of these kids mastered hundreds and hundreds of words over the course of the year.
What's next for Margate? Is a three-peat on the horizon in 2018-19? Will the students and teachers at Margate Middle take the next few months off from vocabulary improvement? Probably not. They've got a book swap coming up, and with all those students going home with new books to read, you can bet there will be a whole lot of word learning happening in South Florida this summer.
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- Vocabulary Bowl