Our Trip to the National Bible Bee Part 2
Hannah: I woke up the next morning super excited. We met up with Titus, Royal, and Mrs. A. down in the lobby, and Dad drove us all over to the church for wardrobe, hair, and makeup. We went into the waiting room and I got to know a few of my fellow Semi-Finalists, then they called me back. Dad quizzed me on Psalm 103:6-14 as they did my makeup. Then they took us back to the holding room and things started to get real.
We [Hannah and the other Junior semi-finalists] all sat around and talked for a while, then suddenly one of the division guides told us the countdown was almost done. The room became silent as we listened intently to hear the audience screaming “5! 4! 3! 2! 1!!!!!” They quickly got us lined up backstage, ready to be called out. Then EZ announced, “Please join me in welcoming your Junior SEMI-FINALISTS!!!!”
Grace: I was sitting with our Local group, between Lizzy (my sister) and Ethan W. (Alec's brother). Each time Hannah and Titus came onstage to recite, I was actually hyperventilating more than they were (which is weird when you think about it). We watched two contestants recite. Then Jason Benham said, “Please welcome to the stage Hannah W.”
Hannah: HE CALLED MY NAME. JASON BENHAM CALLED MY NAME. I felt like a celebrity or something. THIS WAS SO COOL!!! I walked out on stage and heard ridiculously loud screaming come from my far right. I glanced over - aha, just as I suspected. There was my Local group.
“Are you ready, Hannah?”
The dramatic music played and the lights shone all over me and my stress level went way up. THIS IS SERIOUSLY HAPPENING. I closed my eyes and quickly prayed for me to be okay with whatever happened, and for peace. And God gave it to me! I was still nervous, but it was going to be okay no matter what happened. I opened my eyes again as Jason said, “Hannah, please recite Proverbs 11:19-20.” I was careful to go slower than usual to ensure the mic picked up everything I said.
Grace: As round after round went by, the group of semi-finalists grew smaller. One mistake was all it took to eliminate contestants. But Hannah and Titus were still there, and my heart pounded in excitement. Finally, it was time to announce who had been eliminated from the final round.
Hannah: Hannah Leary started, “Well I’ve got some really good news - all of you got your verses correct. Bad news is, we can only take five. So, I’m going to read the names of the five finalists who will be advancing to the Junior Finals tomorrow.
OH. WOW. WHOA. OKAY. THAT HAPPENED.
Yep. I wasn’t surprised at all to hear that name.
Yesss!! Grace!! I gave her a hug as she stepped forward. This was so awesome!!!
Great job Louisa!!
“And finally, ladies and gentlemen…”
Please say Titus… please say Titus… THAT WOULD BE SO COOL, please say Titus…
Grace: And then our whole Locals group completely lost it. I'm pretty sure our section got the record for cheering (and screaming) the loudest. Hannah and Titus had MADE it to FINALS!!!
After Junior semi-finals came Primary semi-finals. During that, most of us (kids) gathered in the hotel lobby to practice square dancing.
Then Sarah, Dad and I drove back to the church with Mrs. N, Lincoln, and Alec so we could watch Senior semi-finals. We sat with our local group, and had a great time. I got to sit with Hannah, which was awesome because she'd been gone a lot (due to being a semi-finalist).
Then came Junior finals.
It was the last stage of the Junior competition. Our local group claimed its cheering section left of the stage (Hannah's and Titus's right). I sat between Landon and Alec. The countdown appeared on the screen, and the auditorium echoed with the sound of thousands of people counting down the seconds. We joined them.
“Five, four, three, two, ONE!”
The Junior finalists filed out onto the stage. The first round was a normal recitation round, just like semi-finals, except now there were longer passages. Round two was a buzzer recitation round, and round three was trivia.
Hannah and Titus both did extremely well. Neither seemed nervous, and they both looked so comfortable up there, despite the fact that they were on live TV with a giant auditorium full of people watching them. Landon was snapping pictures while Alec and I tried to come up with the answers to the trivia questions before the contestants answered them (and we got some right!). We could see the contestants' scores on the fronts of their podiums, so when the competition ended, we knew where everyone had placed before EZ announced it. Titus had placed third and Hannah had placed fourth! It was incredible. Titus and Hannah, third and fourth in the nation. I was so excited!
Sarah: The night after Finals was the awards ceremony and the square dance. After the awards ceremony was the square dance. It was very fun since we knew a lot more people than last year at Nationals, so finding partners was not difficult. We had an amazing evening.
Grace: We got to do the Virginia Reel, which is one of my favorite dances. The whole thing ended a lot sooner than it did last year, so the kids from our host group went outside to practice country swing moves in the dark. It was awesome.
Sarah: After we came back to our hotel from square dancing, most of the Bible Bee families gathered at the lobby of our hotel for a hymn sing. When we got there, the lobby was packed with people. It was amazing to see so many Christians together praising God. I looked around the room at people's faces. Some had tears pouring down their cheeks as they sang songs of thanks to God for His mercy and grace to them.
Grace: Then we all stayed up until 2:00 in the morning! We talked, played card games, and talked some more.
The next morning, we went down to the cafeteria. Most of our friends were gathered around at one table with a lot of extra chairs dragged over, and I joined them. We talked about the night before, and the square dance, and random things I can't remember.
It was a bittersweet time. Bible Bee was over, but there was next year to look forward to. Plus, we were determined to get our Bible Bee group together here and there until the summer study began again. Luckily for us, our parents let us all start a group google hangout, or I don't know how we would have survived. * Dramatic swoon *
Looking Forward to Next Year
Sarah: Our host group did amazing this year, and we have high hopes for next year's host group. We continue to get together with our Bible Bee friends from Ohio, and I can't wait for next year's study! I am confident that next year will be just as exciting as this one at the National Bible Bee.
Bonus Interview Questions with Rosie and Titus A.!
What was happening backstage during semi-finals?
Titus: We were talking to each other, listening to the others recite, and playing with plastic cups (well, some people were; I wasn't xP).
What was your scariest moment during Semi-finals?
Titus: When I thought I'd made a mistake after reciting 1 John 4:7-16 and we were all up on stage and Jason Benham was purposefully taking his time to announce the results. (Not funny, Jason!)
What was your favorite moment during Semi-finals?
Titus: Probably just being backstage and getting to be with all the other contestants and having fun with them.
What was your favorite part of Bible Bee?
Rosie: In general, the Bible Bee has had a profound impact on my life since starting back in 2010; and thus, I’ve grown to love many aspects of it. However, this year was unique to any other in that it was my last, and so there were a number of things that I was looking forward to. I would say that, by far, my favorite part of Nationals was getting to watch the Lord absolutely lavish His goodness on our local Bible Bee group, and easily meeting and surpassing everything we had been praying specifically for our contestants. From placing my brother Titus and Hannah Wright in the Semi-finals and Finals, to a couple of our contestants earning perfect oral recitations, to the simplest and yet very specific prayers of giving one of my study group members perfect peace in her oral round and helping another one of my study group members meet every single one of his goals for the first time – God exalted Himself gloriously in His own strength, magnified His word above all His name, and caused us to simply be vessels and monuments of His extraordinary grace! He is ridiculously good to us. And He made my final year as a contestant especially memorable and sweet.
We hope you enjoyed hearing about our trip to the National Bible Bee. 'Til next time!
~ The Storyweavers