Since the early 1900s, the Georgia High School Association has sponsored its annual Literary Meet for students to display their talents in areas such as writing, singing, speech, and dramatic interpretation. Students from schools in each GHSA region train to represent their schools at the region meet in their individual event with hopes of winning the region championship and advancing to the state meet, now held annually in mid-March. Similarly structured to a track meet, by finishing in the top four, students have the opportunity to score points in their individual event toward their team points total, with the team who scores the most points overall being declared the champion.
The Literary tradition has been strong in Buford City Schools for decades, with the first Buford High School Literary State Championship being awarded in 1925 to Beverly Irwin in Declamation, according to GHSA’s recorded history. Since that first championship almost a century ago, students have continued to represent Buford on Literary teams, winning individual and team championships (Full BHS Literary State Champions List). Though one other school in Georgia has more total Literary State Championships than Buford (Northside-Warner Robins has 22 total Literary Team State Championships), no other school in the history of GHSA has won as many state titles consecutively. In 2015, the Buford Literary team broke the record for most consecutive state championships with their seventh win. Winning their 17th consecutive Region Championship and an unprecedented 11th consecutive State Championship, no other team in Buford’s impressive Literary history has been as dominant as the 2019 Literary Team from Buford High School, with this year’s team scoring 62 points at the state competition.
On Monday night, March 25 at the Buford City Schools Board of Education meeting, the 2019 AAAAA State Champion Literary Team was presented by Dr. Chris Fowler, Fine Arts Coordinator for Buford City Schools, who also serves as Literary Coordinator for Buford High School. Dr. Fowler recognized the individual team members and coaches who contributed to this landmark achievement, citing the competitive edge Buford’s seasoned coaches offer their talented students. Since this team of coaches was assembled, Buford has dominated the Literary competition at the state level, and that is not by accident. Knowing how to identify and shape talent and ability is a unique skill in itself, and, judging by their track record, Dr. Fowler and his team clearly understand the necessary components it takes to win at the state level. The speech and writing events are coached by Dr. Tim Harris, who also serves as the State Literary Coordinator; the dramatic events are coached by Mrs. Kimberly Staples; and the music events are coached by Dr. Chris Fowler and Mrs. Joy Fowler. Though both of the Fowlers work with all four music events, Mrs. Fowler serves as the primary coach for Trio and Girls Solo, and, in 2018, set the all-time, all-classification GHSA record for most consecutive state championships in Trio with seven consecutive wins.
The Literary coaches also understand the value of the support given from school administrators and the Board of Education. In concluding his presentation, Dr. Fowler thanked the leadership by saying, “In addition, we are grateful for the incredible support our City Commission and Board of Education provides for our students. Without your contributions to the development of our young people, successes like this would not be possible.”