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CSS rallies to win Middle School Battle of the Books

Five middle school students in matching black T shirts pose with female teacher on stone steps of building.The Battle of the Books team from Contentnea-Savannah K-8 School had been there before, so when the middle schoolers found themselves trailing after the first round of last week’s competition, they didn’t panic. They staged a rally.

CSS media specialist and team coach Traci Banks credits the team’s experience.

“This year’s Middle School Battle of the Books team was comprised of former CSS Elementary Battle of the Books members,” Banks said. “The team didn’t get to play last year because of Covid restrictions so they were delighted with the opportunity this year.”

Trailing by eight points after the first round, the CSS team won all three of its second-round matches to finish seven points ahead of second-place Woodington Middle School. E.B. Frink Middle School finished third and Rochelle Middle School, fourth.

The Battle of the Books tests students’ knowledge of books from a common reading list of fiction and nonfiction titles through questions related to content. Teams competed in a round-robin format.

The event was held at the Kinston-Lenoir County Performing Arts Center at Kinston High School on April 20. Ryan Gardner, science department head at South Lenoir High School, was moderator.

“Our middle school readers completed a successful battle. All of the teams represented their schools well and we are especially proud of them for committing to reading the 22 books on the battle list,” said Amy Jones, LCPS’s director of high school education and coordinator for this year’s battle. “It was an exciting and close competition through the last round. Congratulations to all of the teams and the coaches for being lifelong readers and for a job well done.”

In addition to the year’s gap in competition caused by Covid, public health precautions presented special challenges for a team that, in all other years, had practiced in person, according to Banks.

“This year was unique in that we only practiced virtually due to remote learning. While we would have preferred in-person practice, being virtual gave us flexibility with our meetings,” Banks said. “The team persisted with their independent reading and virtual practices. I am so proud of their effort and dedication.”

Along with Coach Banks, the Contentnea-Savannah K-8 team is Eagan Ballard, Lesley Wiggins, Brooks Grady, Maddy White and Jaden Powell.

Competing for Woodington were Kadence Thigpen, Alicia Gonzalez-Gutierez, JT Gautier, Joselin Flores, Sage Jones, Aiden Lawson, Michael Mozingo and Josue Garcia-Lopez. Coaches are Jessica Montgomery and Missy Perritt.

Competing for EB Frink were Adin Poe, Jamalaky Bizzell, Haley Heath, Bradley Farrall, Joseph Figueroa, Taylor Benton, Isabella Parker and Justin D. Coaches are Kristen Davenport and Lauran Smith.

Competing for Rochelle were ZyRehanna Williams, Calaysia Murrell, Matthew Green, Madison Green and Saiyanah Becton. Coach is Brenda Saunders-Moultrie.

Photo caption:

Winners of the 2021 LCPS Middle School Battle of the Books from Contentnea-Savannah K-8 School are from left, front row, Eagan Ballard and Lesley Wiggins; second row, Brooks Grady and Maddy White; and, third row, coach Traci Banks and Jaden Powell.