By Lindsay Ash
Carrboro Commons Writer
On March 7, the four district middle schools competed in the eighth annual Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Battle of the Books competition.
The competition took place in the auditorium of Culbreth Middle School. Parents and students attended the event and cheered in support of 56 students who competed to become the district champion.
Five months of hard work reading 26 books paid off for Phillips Middle School students who won the district competition. Phillips won the Battle of the Books after sixteen rounds with 130 points.
Though Phillips won the competition, event organizer Laura Williams said that all the participants were winners.
“Battle of the Books is a truly impressive feat,” Williams said. “The Battle is so much more than winning. It is about reading.”
Battle of the Books forces students to look beyond plot summary and delve into the details. The students were exposed to a wide variety of literature characterized by a range of plots, settings and styles.
The 26 books on the reading list range from classics to adventure to science fiction and more. The list aims to cover subjects that would appeal to both boys and girls. The State Battle of the Books Committee strives to select quality books that will stand the test of time and are suitable for middle school reading levels.
And student participants would agree.
“I decided to be in the Battle of the Books because I like to read,” said sixth grade Phillips student Lauren Swers. “So why not read the books on the list, since you know they will probably be good?”
The 16-round competition was done in a quiz bowl format, with the teams battling each other twice for points. Each school team had six students competing at one time for each round of 12 questions.
“We have been practicing once a week before school since October,” said Carolyn Parker, co-coach of the Phillips team. “For years, the Battle of the Books has been one of the most fun parts of my job.”
The Battle of the Books program can be traced back to a public radio program in Chicago in the 1940s. North Carolina School Library Media Association librarians adopted the idea and constructed the quiz game to encourage reading today.
In 2000, NCSLMA became a sponsor of Battle of the Books, and independent schools became a region for competition. The first state competition of Battle of the Books was held in the 2001-2002 school year.
NCSLMA’s manual best describes the goal of the program. It states, “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,” writes Mortimer Jerome Adler.
Phillips Middle School will represent CHCCS at the Piedmont Regional Battle of the Books at Randolph Community College in Asheboro on April 18.
The following students participated in the CHCCS Battle of the Books:
Guy Phillips Middle School: Apoorva Iyengar, Kelly Jiang, Sidney Karesh, Anne Kelley, Austin Kelly, Sandhya Mahadevan, Emma McNairy, Maria Adriana Rojas, Lenny Rosen, Lars (Lara) Sahoo, William Snoeyink, Cissy Yu and additional team members Colleen Cui, Anne George, Elianna Goldstein, Charles Higgins, Kate Holcomb, Vincent Lai, Deborah Lawrence, Austin Liu, Ben Marks, Kayla Miron, Sidney Shank, Lauren Swers, Maya Weinaberg and Zhongshan Zhu.
McDougle Middle School: Hannah Blackburn, Karen Cheney, Anya Josephs, Abel Koshy, Grayson Rieth, Evan Rose, Caleb Taylor, Jenny Vaughn and Annie Wilcosky.
Grey Culbreth Middle School: Bill Bourret, Melania Dyck, Jasmine Farmer, Yeji Jung, Caterina Kielpinski, Floria Le, Shiyi Li, Miriam McDonough, Nancy Merritt, Auliya Shenk, Bailey Spears, Julia Suman, Sara Terrell, Yixuan Wen, Tasha Wilhemsen and Brystal Williams.
R.D. and Euzelle P. Smith Middle School: Natasha Anbalagan, Karron Armstrong, Sam Freedberg, Alex (Evan) Grosskurth, Samantha Johnson, Galen Kirkpatrick, Alisha Lee, Matthieu Sieredzki, Caleb Stern, Jacob Stern, Jyoshitha Tella, Katherine Whang, Julian Wilson and Anna Zhang.