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Battle of Books about more than competition

David Broyles dbroyles@civitasmedia.com

March 14, 2014

DOBSON — Organizers of Surry County’s third Elementary Battle of the Books at Rockford Elementary Friday morning pointed out the competitive atmosphere rivaling an ACC basketball tournament was not the main feature of the event.


“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you,” said organizer Donna Bledsoe who was quoting noted battle proponent Mortimer Jerome Adler. “Every year we see the competition is getting better and we’re seeing more excitement with the literature. They’re making an impact on our world on what they read.”


She said a student-initiated donation drive to collect money for drilling a well in Africa was proof of this.


Shoals Elementary took first place in the event with Flat Rock finishing second, White Plains in third and Franklin finishing fourth. Shoals will represent Surry County Schools at the regional competition tentatively set for April 1 at a location to be announced.


Franklin Elementary Coach Tonya Fletcher agreed students had been inspired by the book titled “A Long Walk for Water,” by Linda Sue Park. Tournament officials said more than $800 had been collected which will go the the Water for South Sudan group.


“Our goal for this is more kids reading more,” said Director of Elementary Curriculum and Instruction Jennifer Scott. “Competition often stirs our soul. Following the competition I see kids going to see if next year’s book list is up (on the Internet) and start reading. It’s really become a year-long event.”


Level Cross Church Boy Scout Troop 505 Scout and Rockford Student Reece Hanson said he has a personal tie to the project because his grandfather is a Assembly of God missionary in Nairobi who drills wells as part of the church’s service mission. Evan Barnard of Franklin’s competition team said the”competition was great and it was a fun way to be with other people of similar interests.


“I think this (the well project) is an example of how the competition is a way all the children are winners,” said Fletcher. “It touched them after they learned kids like them had no clean water.”


Surry County School Superintendent Dr. Travis Reeves said the tournament was just another way the system was getting students excited about learning by staging an academic event with the same intensity of athletic competition.


“Competition that comes out of this event encourages students to be leaders and be part of a team of fellow students. It’s a neat concept,” said Reeves. “I’m excited to see the parents and grandparents turn out to cheer on their sons, daughters and grandchildren. Whenever my daughter’s turn comes I’m every bit as nervous as I would be if she was at the foul line shooting a free throw at the end of the game.”


“The competition points are so close,” said Bledsoe. “Literally there’s just a few points difference all down the line. Some of the finishes were so close. We are proud of all of our Elementary Battle of the Books teams and coaches. Students could be seen discussing their favorite books and complimenting each other’s performances.”


The tournament fielded 11 teams this year. The competition team members were as follows:


Cedar Ridge: Marissa Casstevens, Madalyn Edwards, Alexander Kaufhold, McKinley Nixon, Taylor Vernon, Santana Wilson and Landon Wright.


Copeland Elementary: Christopher Chambers, Laken Creed, Nouria Edwards, Charlie Hernandez, Itzel Hernandez, Arial Holt, Jackson Manning, Daniel Olchowoj, Audrey Poindexter, Peggy Prevette, Gavin Schendel.


Dobson Elementary: Emily Avalos Beltran, Austin Cave, Isabella Freeman, Chase Holt, Karen Huerta, Carrie McKeaver, Colby Mitchell, Brooke Mosley, Jasmine Narehood, Jaylyn Templetom, Joy Tilley and Amelia Wilmoth.


Flat Rock: Anthony Brown, Maggie Cockerham, Katelyn Gammons, Cody Kirsch, Tahtiyana Mason, Nathan Morton, Camron Parker, Christopher Parker, Kamdyn Phillips, LeShawn Phillips, Sydney Shinault and Mason Welch.


Franklin Elementary: Raegan Amos, Evan Barnard, Hayden Burkhart, Caleb Faw, James Jessup, Emily Jones, Madison McCraw, Ellie Niston, Weatherly Reeves, Shelby Roberts and Jacey Ward.


Mountian Park: Grace Bare, Abigail Garza, Christine Garza, Jacqueline Guardarrama, Mariela Loa, Kalie Mabe, Elijah Myers, Jesus Nava, Abbott Nixon, Natalee Payne, Ashley Sewell and Kaylyn Staggs.


Pilot Mountain: Daniel Cortes, Kalee Hall, Jacob Haywood, Roy Beth Kiser, Alli Lewellyn, Ty Orosz, Samantha Rodriquez, Landon Smith, Jessica Wriston and Alyssa Yount.


Rockford Elementary: Jose Gomez Bautista, Laney Cave, Jossiell Cortes, Reece Hanson, Carter Jones, Mason Kreh, Yaira Reyes Nazario, Christian Robinson, Ashley Sanchez Rodriquez, Cristian Urquiza and Carlie Via.


Shoals: Colton Allen, Courtney Brown, Emma Brown, Carly Bullington, Breanna Collins, Carlee Cox, Faith Dawson, Tristan Harless, Cameron Knox, Tye Needham, Chloe Sloop and Anna Windsor.


Westfield: Zoe Arnder, BradenBottoms, Kahmea Bowser, Marlie Easter, Ethan Faw, Mackenzie Halstead, Chloe Hunter, Alyson Huybert, Dasia Lambert and Ronaldo Mares.


White Plains: Meg Adams, Piper Angel, Oshyn Bryant, Leah Cain, Devin Cowan, Maddie Creed, Will Danley, Landon Hiatt and Nathan Lattimore.


David Broyles may be reached at 336-719-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.