Aves bell bonds over competition


Sydney Weiss

BLANK SLATE. The key to a challenging Wikirace is coming up with creative places to start and finish. Specific brands, species, pop culture references, or historical events work well. “My favorite place to start is Fiona the hippo,” said Maddy Weiss, 11.

At the start of the year, a major shift occurred in the schedules of SHS students: Aves bell. Aves bell is unlike that of ACE bell (from last year) or Aviator bell (fondly remembered from junior high) because one goal of the bell is to create a coterie of students.

Various Aves bell classes have different traditions within the class in an attempt to achieve a tight-knit community. Some classes may have food parties, and others play games as a class. Mr. Greg Ulland’s Aves bell has begun a unique practice: Wikiraces.

A Wikirace is a type of competition. Any number of people can play. Each participant utilizes his or her own computer to go onto Wikipedia. Everyone starts on the same page then must use only hyperlinks found on pages to access another page that the group has agreed upon to be the ending point.

The game is interesting because knowledge of trivia could benefit the competitors, but sometimes mindless clicking is the best strategy. It is both a game of luck and skill.

“I love Wikiracing. The game never gets old because you can keep picking different starting points and ending points. One time, I tried to get from seahorses to Planter’s peanuts. and it took a really long time,” said Maddy Weiss, 11.

In Ulland’s Aves bell, comprised entirely of juniors, a formal bracket was created. It is a double-elimination style bracket, so students who got out on the first round have the opportunity to keep playing and get back in later. The class only races on Fridays, so the rest of the days students can visit teachers or do homework.

“I think I’m pretty good at Wikiraces, but I messed up in the first round. Now, I can get back in later, which is nice,” Weiss said.

While some students felt ACE bell’s required reading did not benefit them last year, Ulland’s class is thriving with the new flexible structure of the bell.