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Hardin Park Gold Team Wins WCS Battle of the Books For Elementary Grades

The Hardin Park Gold Team includes (students left to right) Lily Wilson, Angela Claire Henderson, Ellery Rushing, Makayla Barnes, Lydia Rothrock, and Ella Triplett. The coaches are Corrie Freeman (on left) and Emily Rothrock (at right).
The Hardin Park Gold Team includes (students left to right) Lily Wilson, Angela Claire Henderson, Ellery Rushing, Makayla Barnes, Lydia Rothrock, and Ella Triplett. The coaches are Corrie Freeman (on left) and Emily Rothrock (at right).

The Hardin Park School Gold Team won the elementary grades championship in the Watauga County Schools Battle of the Books held Tuesday, March 17 at Mount Vernon Baptist Church.

The Hardin Park Gold team includes Makayla Barnes, Angela Claire Henderson, Lydia Rothrock, Ellery Rushing, Ella Triplett, and Lily Wilson. The team is coached by AIG Specialist Emily Rothrock and fourth grade teacher Corrie Freeman.

In winning the event, the Hardin Park Gold team set a local record by piling up 270 points. It’s the second year in a row that Hardin Park Gold has won the WCS Battle of the Books and this year’s group includes four of the six students from last year’s team. The team will now advance to the regional Battle of the Books in Hickory on April 21.

Finishing second in Tuesday’s competition was the Blowing Rock Green Team, which included James Barker, Sam Brandon, Joseph Combs, Nickolas Cutillo, Ava Cutlip, Griffin Dillman, Kathleen Gibson, Emily Gray, Ben Hale, Cristian Hamilton, and Drew Jasper. The team was coached by AIG Specialist Harriett Stepuch.

The Bethel White Team took third place. This team consisted of Anna Belle Dishman, Devin Gragg, Eli Greene, Chase Perry, Joshua Snyder, Cole Trivette, and Andrew Tester, and was coached by Bethel faculty members Carla Greene, Anne Sukow, and Jay Ishaya.

A total of 15 teams participated in the elementary grades Battle of the Books, which is for students in fourth and fifth grades. Each team plays every other team once in the competition and each round consists of a series of questions initially addressed to one 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 can attempt to answer the question and win two points for a correct response. The winning team is determined on the basis of total points scored in all rounds combined.

The Battle of the Books is a team effort coordinated by Hardin Park Media Specialist Candice Trexler. She relies on the assistance of teachers and media specialists from the participating schools and the support of about 35 volunteers who help out as moderators, timekeepers, scorekeepers, and judges.

Trexler praised the volunteers for their essential role in Battle of the Books and also thanked the Watauga Education Foundation (WEF) and Mount Vernon Baptist Church for their crucial support of the program. The WEF provides a grant of $2,000 that is vital to paying for books and for travel expenses to regional competition. Mount Vernon Baptist Church generously donates the use of its classrooms and gym to host the Battle of the Books.

Trexler urged the community to support the WEF through their Flapjack Flip, held annually in December, and the Shooting Stars student talent show, which takes place next month in the Schaefer Performing Arts Center at ASU. “I encourage everyone to attend these events. Shooting Stars comes up on April 24th, and that will be a wonderful evening where you can enjoy a great show and give back to a group that supports our students and teachers.”

Battle of the Books is a reading incentive program in which the elementary grade teams read the same 18 carefully selected books before the competition. A team can have up to 12 players and three to six players participate in each round. One student is designated to respond to each question for a team, but all team members participating in that round can discuss the response before the answer is given. The questions ask “in which book” a character appears or an event occurs. Examples from this competition included “in which book does a character keep a close eye on the cookies after hearing a lecture about waste?” and “in which book does Mozart jam with Metallica?”

Trexler praises the program for encouraging students to read, noting that “it’s 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.