Hardin Park Team Takes Second in the State in Battle of the Books Competition in Greensboro

Published Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 1:22 pm

A team from Hardin Park School won second place in the state in the middle school Battle of the Books in Greensboro on May 15.

From left, team members Gabe Souza, Bryant Hou, Ethan Turner, Li Yang, Lucy Rapfogel, and Carsyn Howarth

From left, team members Gabe Souza, Bryant Hou, Ethan Turner, Li Yang, Lucy Rapfogel, and Carsyn Howarth

The team was outscored for first place by just two points and the outcome was still in doubt until the very last question of the competition.

Members of the Hardin Park team include Bryant Hou, Carsyn Howarth, Lucy Rapfogel, Gabe Souza, Ethan Turner, and Li Yang. The team was coached by Hardin Park Media Coordinators Amy Hiatt and Candice Trexler.

“This is an amazing group of students who have gone above and beyond in their dedication and commitment to Battle of the Books,” noted Hiatt. “Not only did they attend weekly after school practices, but they also met daily during their lunch time and put in countless hours of reading at home. Hardin Park School has rallied around this team in the past few weeks and has given them a great deal of support and encouragement.”

Even with a second place finish fresh under their belts, team members and coaches are eagerly anticipating next year’s Battle of the Books. “We are looking forward to continuing to work with the five members of this team that will return to Hardin Park as 8th graders next year,” said Trexler. Team member Bryant Hou is in 8th grade and will move on to Watauga High School in August, but the rest of this year’s team is already plunging into preparation for Battle of the Books 2016. “They began reading books on the list for next year’s Battle of the Books this past weekend,” commented Trexler. “They are highly motivated to be contenders again in 2016 and we will do everything we can do to support them!”

The bounty from the team’s second place finish includes a team trophy, a complete set of next year’s Battle of the Books titles for the school, one title from that list for each member of the team, silver medals, and a cinch pack with a Frisbee and other small gifts for each member of the team.

Hardin Park advanced to the state level after becoming the first local team ever to win the regional Battle of the Books. The regional competition included the 18 school system winners of Region 7, an area covering 14 counties in northwestern NC. The team won that event by a substantial 14 point margin to advance to state competition in Greensboro with the nine best teams from across the state.

An elementary grades team from Hardin Park also did well in Battle of the Books this year, winning the title for the Watauga County Schools and finishing second in regional competition.

In Battle of the Books competitions, teams are asked questions about the books that all teams have read over the months preceding the competition. The book list for middle school includes 27 titles, all in the general category of fiction. In each round, teams are asked questions about “in which book” a specific scene, event, or character appears. Each question is initially addressed to one team and that team can win three points if they correctly identify the title and author of the book. If they miss, the other team is given a chance to answer the question and win two points for a correct response. Each team plays every other team once in the competition and the winning team is determined on the basis of total points scored in all rounds combined.

In addition to expressing appreciation for the support the team received from parents and teachers at Hardin Park, Trexler also thanked the Watauga Education Foundation (WEF) for helping to fund Battle of the Books in the Watauga County Schools. The WEF provided a grant of $2,000 that helped pay for the necessary books and for travel to the regional competition.

Hardin Park School is the largest of the eight K-8 schools in the Watauga County Schools system, with a total enrollment of approximately 800 students. Students at Hardin Park exceed state expectations for academic growth and score well above statewide averages for proficiency on the state’s End of Grade (EOG) tests.

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