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First time's the charm in Elementary Battle of the Books

Two first-year coaches and a team of fifth graders competing in its first LCPS Elementary Battle of the Books brought home the first-place prize for La Grange Elementary School for the first time since 2017.

 Six fifth graders, two in the center holding a trophy, are flanked by two female teachers. The La Grange team – Annaliese Miller, Abby Martin, Alisson Rios, Lilly Johnson, Easton Vinson and Kelsie Stroud – dominated much of the round-robin competition to top second-place Moss Hill Elementary 158-143. Northwest Elementary finished third with 123 points; Pink Hill Elementary, with 117 points; and Banks Elementary, with 103 points.

Teams from all nine LCPS elementary schools took part in the April 16 competition, held at Kinston High School under physically distance conditions after last year’s Battle of the Books was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Battle of the Books challenges fourth and fifth graders’ knowledge of books from a common reading list of 15 titles through questions related to content.

As the district winner, La Grange will represent LCPS in the regional competition next month.

“We’ve been reading since September. In fact, some of them were reading during summer already,” said fifth-grade teacher Jessica Miller, who coaches the La Grange team with media coordinator Emily Brown.

“We worked hard and practiced a lot,” Brown said.

The work paid off. The La Grange team answered 81 questions and answered three-fourths of them correctly. In its eight battles, it posted a perfect round of 24 points and three rounds of 22 points, with just one or two incorrect answers.

“Considering everything that has gone on this year and how difficult it’s been with remote practices and some in-person practices, all the teams did phenomenally well,” said Charles White, the district’s director of media and technology and long-time organizer of the Elementary Battle of the Books event.

Representing second-place Moss Hill were Addison Lambert, Alia Brown, Liam Barwick, Reese Bumgarner, Holden Barnett, Hannah Harrison and coach Melissa Small.

Representing third-place Northwest were Timothy Wiggins, Christian Wooten, Brooklynn Canady-Small, Caroline Tribula, Mackenzie Hardy and coach Janis Skoczylas.

The Pink Hill team was Whitney Dupree, Evelyn Garcia, Ethan Croom, Layla Porter-Trimm, Joshua Stroud, Cannon Sumner and coaches Myra Aycock and Jennifer Grubbs.

The Banks team was Whitney Byrd, Savannah Hardison, Katelynn Hardison, Hudson Horton and coaches Jennifer Jones and Ashley Hood.

Representing Contentnea-Savannah K-8 School were Molly White, Alisa Washington, Merrisa Kee, Astarria Robinson and Traci Banks.

Representing Northeast Elementary were J’Naila Teach, Zachry Powell, Camesia Moore, Kailea Davis, Jenesis Murphy and coach Summer Dail.

Representing Southeast Elementary were Diara Gooding, DaZya Brown, Xavier Hayes, Tymerion Williams, Brianna Howell, Chanel Forbes and coaches Shanella Roberts and Marvette Spruill.

Representing Southwood Elementary were Noah Jenkins, Ben Phillippe, Angelie Medina Mayen, Alejandro Anaya Barraza and coaches Gail Outlaw and Angie Jarman.

Moderators for the competition were LCPS staffers Kim Hazelgrove, Jodi Stocks and Rachel Whitfield.

Photo captions:

(Top) Winners of the 2021 LCPS Elementary Battle of the Books from La Grange Elementary School are, from left, coach Emily Brown, Kelsi Stroud, Lilly Johnson, Abby Martin, Annaliese Miller, Easton Vinson, Alisson Rios and coach Jessica Miller.

(Below left) The second-place Moss Hill team was coach Missy Small, Alia Brown, Liam Barwick, Holden Barnett, Reese Bumgarner and Hannah Harrison.

(Below right) The third-place team from Northwest Elementary were coach Janis Skoczylas, Christian Wooten, Brooklynn Canady-Small, Timothy Wiggins, MacKenzie Hardy and Caroline Tribula.

Teacher poses with 5 elementary students showing their red ribbons Teacher poses with 5 elementary students in blue T shirts showing their white ribbons