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Democrat Photo by Dan Hust

GROUP SESSION: Clockwise from the upper right, Narrowsburg teammates Amanda McGrath, John Nober and Tierney Cole work on a newspaper ad while Tri-Valley participants Cecelia Pompeii and Alice Cook look on during SCIL-Jr.’s “Mall Madness” meet at the Apollo Plaza in Monticello.

SCIL Takes On Apollo Plaza

By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO — February 29, 2000 -- Periodically throughout Friday, shoppers at the Apollo Plaza in Monticello would peer curiously into a vacant store space inside the mall, eyeing the rows of tables and crowds of young people.
Occasionally, a few people would stop by one of the tables, asking whoever would listen why uniformly t-shirted teens were darting from store to store or congregating on the benches fronting the massive windows.
The answer was as uniform as the t-shirts (which themselves were an indication of the day’s event): it was the third SCIL-Junior meet of the school year, pitting ten teams of local 7th and 8th graders against one another in a mad race to win the competition.
Fittingly dubbed “Mall Madness” by creators Carolyn Curry and Carol Kehrley, the SCIL (Sullivan County Interacademic League) meet was actually eight competitions rolled into one, letting SCIL’s t-shirt-clad students experience the frenzy of marketing and operating a shopping mall.
“Everything has to do with the mall,” explained Curry, a teacher from Livingston Manor. “Some [competitions] are fun, some are organized, and some are creative.”
“Creative” was the proper word evidently, since the teams were faced with creating Apollo Plaza-themed radio and newspaper ads, choosing and ordering needed supplies, advertising a particular store, preparing a news release, deciphering a floor plan, setting a time record for changing clothes in a dressing room, and even delivering the mail!
All this had to be done without asking any store or mall employees for help – and within a time limit.
But that’s what Narrowsburg (Sullivan West) student John Nober liked best.
“It was fun,” he related, “because we got to run!”
Yet, with all the hubbub, Curry said mall managers had been pleased in the past (several years ago, SCIL organizers put the first “Mall Madness” together) and she expected they would be again.
“They’ve been very good to us,” Curry remarked. “You’ve got 100 kids in a mall, but they’re all engaged.”
“They learn to work as a team,” added first-time SCIL coach Jen Warner, a librarian at Delaware Valley (Sullivan West). “The kids do all the work. Actually, it’s very exciting . . . [and] it’s really hard to stay out of it!”
“This kind of mimics the work world,” explained Curry. “The intent is to have them use their brains in competition, to solve problems.”
Ultimately, judges Debbie Cosgrove, Penny Coombe and Lisa Lyons picked Narrowsburg as the winner, with a perfect score of 200 points.
Following closely behind were:
• Jeffersonville-Youngsville – 199
• Livingston Manor – 193
• Monticello – 192
• Tri-Valley – 189
Overall, the top five SCIL-Jr. results are now:
• Jeff-Youngsville – 571
• Livingston Manor – 555
• Monticello – 552
• Narrowsburg – 547
• Eldred – 528
For more information and further breakdowns, SCIL Coordinator Brian Tingley said anyone can look up the results on the web at acalete.
The final SCIL-Jr. round of the season is scheduled for May 5 at (naturally) an undisclosed location.

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