March 17, 2014. Hardin Park School’s Gold Team won the middle school championship in the Watauga County Schools Battle of the Books competition held last Tuesday.
The Hardin Park Gold Team includes Maddie Brown, Miranda Owen, Eryn Boyle, Bryant Hou, Lucy Rapfogel, Len Sanqui, and Ethan Turner. The team was coached by Hardin Park Media Coordinators Amy Hiatt and Candice Trexler. This team will now represent the Watauga County Schools in regional Battle of the Books competition for middle school students on April 7th in Statesville, NC.
Finishing second in the WCS competition was the Cove Creek 7th and 8th Grade Team, while the Valle Crucis Red Team took third place. This year’s competition also featured an unprecedented four way tie for fourth place
The Cove Creek 7/8 team included Josiah Isaacs, Jackson Propst, Sarah Tyndall, Seanna Miller, Isaac Styles, and Anya Laws and was coached by Cynthia Townsend, a sixth grade teacher who is the Cove Creek School Teacher of the Year for 2014-15. The Valle Crucis Red Team consisted of Mac Waters, William Nelsen, Sammy Osmond, Max Hagaman and Hayley Painter. The Red Team was coached by Valle Crucis School Media Specialist Jeana Byrd.
In an unusual coincidence of excellence, all three top teams are also the home of district wide winners of other honors. Hardin Park Principal Mary Smalling is the 2014-15 WCS Principal of the Year, Cove Creek Principal Toby Cone is the 2013-14 WCS Principal of the Year, and Gina Holste of Valle Crucis is the WCS Teacher of the Year for 2013-14.
A total of 12 teams participated in the middle school Battle of the Books this year. Each team plays every other team once in the competition and each round consists of 12 questions posed to each team. The questions ask students to identify “in which book” a specific scene, event, or character appears. If a team provides the correct title and author of the book, they are awarded three points. If they miss, the other team has one chance to answer the question and can win two points for a correct response. Among the more memorable questions at this competition was one which asked “in which book did a character remove and eat a piece of licorice stuck on the bottom of a shoe?” The winning team is determined on the basis of total points scored in all rounds combined.
Battle of the Books competitions rely on a team effort in the schools and on community support, all of which is coordinated by Hardin Park Media Specialist Candice Trexler. She was supported in her efforts by teachers and media specialists from the participating schools. She also relied on the assistance of about 30 volunteers, including parents, current and retired school system employees, and others who help out as moderators, timekeepers, scorekeepers, and judges.
“Battle of the Books absolutely is not possible without the help of our volunteers,” Trexler said. “They are crucial to having this competition and we are very grateful for all that they do.”
Trexler also thanked the Watauga Education Foundation and Mount Vernon Baptist Church for their support. The Watauga Education Foundation provided a grant of $2,000 that was essential in helping pay for program expenses, and Mount Vernon Baptist Church generously donates the use of its classrooms and gym to host the competition.
Battle of the Books is a reading incentive program available to students in fourth through eighth grade. This week’s middle school competition for grades six through eight will be followed by the competition for students in grades four and five next Tuesday.
The books selected for the program are a mixture of classics and new titles in a wide variety of literary genres. The reading list includes 27 titles for middle school teams.
Trexler praises the program for its value in encouraging students to read, saying that “Battle of the Books is an opportunity for students to participate in a fun, competitive atmosphere while enhancing their reading skills, enjoying quality literature, and being part of a team.”
Persons or organizations interested in supporting Battle of the Books can contact Candice Trexler at Hardin Park School, 264-8481. Additional information about Battle of the Books, including the list of middle school books for 2014-15, is available online at www.ncslma.org/book-competitions.html.