Students test their memories in Battle of the Books
After calling out the answers to such esoteric questions as what two basketball players two characters in the novel “Ghost” argue about, Glide Middle School student Hannah Quimby was happy her team defeated Elkton to move on to the semifinals in Saturday’s Battle of the Books, held at Brockway Elementary School in Winston.
The basketball players, by the way, were LeBron James and Michael Jordan.
Melanie Adams, a special education teacher and a parent of one of the Glide competitors, Amber Warner, said she was impressed by the kids’ performance.
“These kids are amazing to remember all those books that they read,” she said.
Amber had a good feeling about her team’s chances.
“We’re going to win. I’m totally confident,” she said.
She was right.
Teams of four from 18 middle schools competed in the tournament. There were also 16 elementary school teams and eight high school teams.
The students read a dozen or more books, depending on their age group, and then used what they remembered in a battle of wits against their opponents.
There was a chance, Hannah noted, that her team might compete against a second from Glide, made up of a group of sixth graders who attend Glide Elementary School but were counted as middle schoolers for purposes of the competition.
It wasn’t to be.
Canyonville Middle School students outcompeted the younger Glide team by a single question in a semifinal match with such tough questions that no one could answer any of them in the second half of the quiz.
As an example, one question asked what type of grain was stored next to the grain chute on the upper level of the barn in the book “Wolf Hollow.” Corn, guessed Canyonville. Wheat, guessed Glide. The answer was oats.
Ayan Rao-Tiwari of the Canyonville team said his heart was pounding so fast during the grain question it felt like it was going to burst out of his chest. He was excited by the semifinal win.
“I did not think we were going to win that,” he said. “It was a really close match.”
While the earlier contests were held in classrooms, the finals were on the stage in the cafeteria. Hucrest Elementary School defeated Oakland. Coquille High School defeated North Douglas High School. And the Glide Middle School team defeated Canyonville by remembering things like the fact that a character in “Avenging the Owl” had hair that smelled like vanilla, and a character in “The Sword of Summer” joked that her role model was Tinkerbell.
“We did it,” said Hannah after the win. She credited her mother Julie Quimby, who is also the school’s librarian.
“She made us come in every day at lunch and asked us questions,” Hannah said. It was a strategy that paid off, she said.
Teresa Mincher, a teacher at McGovern who organized the competition, said the Battle of the Books has been held for decades in Douglas County.
“It’s a lot of fun. It really is,” she said.