Experienced Woodington wins LCPS Battle of the Books
Winner of the 2019 LCPS Middle School Battle of the Books, the team from Woodington Middle School is, from left, Coach Jean Whaley, Amedith Stroud, David Phillippe, Jariyah Murphy, Fernando Flores, Trinity Beverly, Bryan Villasenor, Lily Musulin, Drew Hedrick, Brenden Gray and Coach Sherry Williams. Woodington has won the district contest in eight of the past nine years.
Experience counts — even if the experienced competitors are only in the eighth grade.
When Woodington Middle School powered to another victory in the LCPS Middle School Battle of the Books last week, it was the same as it ever was for the six eighth-graders on the team. Since coming into middle school three years ago, they have always finished first, playing a key role in Woodington’s record of eight wins in the last nine annual contests.
Coach Jean Whaley, the media coordinator at Woodington, says she will miss them as they move on to high school.
“They show good leadership and are good motivators and they take our younger ones in and treat them well,” Whaley said. “They are a great group.”
Each year, the Battle of the Books tests students’ knowledge of books from a common reading list of 27 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. Ryan Gardner, science department head at South Lenoir High School, was moderator.
After the first round, Woodington held a 24-point lead over its closest competition, the team from Contentnea-Savannah K-8 School. The Raiders finished the battle with a 24-point win over Frink Middle, which rallied in Round 2 to edge out CSS for second place. Rochelle Middle finished fourth.
“They did really well,” the coach said of Woodington’s performance. “We’d had such a terrible practice Sunday. It’s like they say with ballgames — sometimes if you have a bad practice, you can have an awesome game. They sure did.”
The win sends Woodington to the regional Battle of the Books in Goldsboro on April 12.
The actual competitions are the culmination of a development process that begins with Whaley pulling a team together at the beginning of the school year.
“We’re looking for someone who’s committed to reading, to coming to practices and who just has that positive attitude,” she said. “We try to talk it up and let them know it’s work but it’s a lot of fun also.”
With the eighth-grade nucleus of her 2019 team moving on to high school next fall, veteran status will confer to the three remaining members, two who are now seventh graders and one who is in sixth grade.
“Next year we’re going to have a rebuilding year,” Whaley said.
It hardly matters to the coach, who has fielded Battle of the Books teams at Woodington since 2002.
“It’s fun having that group that belongs to you and seeing kids with the excitement of reading,” she said. “There’s no pay, just fun times.”
Members of Woodington’s team are Trinity Beverly, Fernando Flores, Brenden Gray, Drew Hedrick, Jariyah Murphy, Lily Musulin, David Phillippe, Amedith Stroud and Bryan Villasenor. Sherry Williams coaches with Whaley.
Frink’s team members are Amanda Glen, Elizabeth Crupe, Jalyn Bizzell-Elliott, Aubrey McNeil, Natalee Peede, Kaitlyn Minder and Caroline Wimbush. Coaches are Lauran Smith and Karen Dawson.
The Contentnea-Savannah team is My-Joi Davis, Omaryah Vargas, Hannah Van, Lesley Wiggins, Eagan Ballard, Emmy Campos and Mi’isha Allsbrooks. Traci Banks is coach.
Rochelle team members are Alyseana Bell, Malaysiana Bell, Shania Davis, Makayla Dixon, Maris Flowers, Marissa Harris, Madyson Horn, Tashayla Knight, Raymond Robinson and Amelia Smith. Coach is Brenda Saunders-Moultrie.