When the Vocabulary Bowl enters the off-season months from May through September, that's when things get unpredictable.

Schools that dominated all season wind down for the summer after they've achieved their Bowl goals and hauled home their banners, leaving the leaderboards wide open to upstarts and underdogs. It's the time of year when schools that have been waiting in the wings make their move.

In May, Harris Road Middle School did just that. The Patriots kept the momentum from their epic season going strong, working right through the final stretch of the year. Rather than rest on their laurels after they captured two pennants in 2018-19, the students plowed on and mastered 38,291 words to become the May Champion and to cap off the year with one more banner to add to their haul.

Although this is the first overall Vocabulary Bowl win for Harris Road, they're not what you'd consider novices. The school has ranked in the monthly overall Top 10 four previous times. The Patriots are also on a roll right now — they just finished the 2018 - 2019 season as North Carolina State Champion, a Top 5 Middle School, and the 15th-ranked school in North America (among a pool of 39,700 contenders!).

What's behind their big accomplishment? In addition to the students' hard work, there's a dedicated team of teachers who are committed to vocabulary improvement as a means to achieving the larger goal: improved literacy skills.

Congratulations to Harris Road Middle School for their May Vocabulary Bowl win. They're definitely on our "Schools to Watch List" as a serious contender for the Middle School Division Champion title in next year's Bowl.

It's never too late to get your school involved in the Vocabulary Bowl. We award Champions Banners all year long, and many schools "get their game on" in the summer months. With county, state and division leaderboards where your school can vie for the top each day, week and month, there's a level of competition that's right for every school. Here's how to get your school involved.