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MRMS still Union County Battle of the Books champions

Marvin Ridge Middle School students proudly display their trophy after having won the Union County Battle of the Books (BoB) competition, their fourth year to win.

For the fourth year in a row, Marvin Ridge Middle School students have won the Union County Battle of the Books (BoB) competition held this year on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011, at the Professional Development Center in Monroe.

"The students are so dedicated," said school coach Brita Mann, the media coordinator at Marvin Ridge Middle. "They just love it so much. They've worked so hard, preparing day and night. They went home and practiced with their friends. They ate, drank and slept everything BoB."

Mann said another factor in the win is the work her media assistant Carolyn Hsiao did with the team. The support from parents was also a major plus. "The parents help us all the time and come to all our practice meets," she said.

Even though it's their fourth consecutive year to take home the BoB trophy, students seemed just as exciting with this year's win. "I was nervous that we wouldn't win, but now that we have won, I'm ready to move on to the next competition," said Kieran Mouritsen, an eighth grader.

All nine middle schools within the Union County Public Schools system and one charter school competed in this year's BoB. The first to arrive at the contest -- Marvin Ridge Middle students, all proudly sporting their blue Battle of the Books T-shirts that they themselves designed. The MRMS team has sixth, seventh and eighth graders. Of the 12 members, five are new this year.

To prepare for the competition, students had to read from a list of 27 books. "There are some classics, some historical fiction, some fantasy, all genres are represented," Mann said. "There are also books by North Carolina authors that have North Carolina settings."

During the competition, judges test the teams' knowledge and memory of the various books on the list. "They'll ask questions like, 'In which book does the character find rusty pliers?' or 'In which book does the red Mustang signal trouble?'," Mann said.

Sofia Mouritsen, 11, a seventh grader, said being part of the BoB team gives her an outlet for her love of reading. "I like to read because it helps me learn new vocabulary, and it helps me learn how to find new worlds. Reading helps me learn the concepts behind the stories. The team also helps us build friendships because we all have a love of reading in common."

"Reading is a solitary thing, but in BoB, it's kind of like a family," said Cary Hall Titus, 13, an eighth grader. "It's a fellowship."

The BoB experience goes much deeper, Mann said. "BoB helps kids become more critical readers and better writers. It increases their vocabulary and understanding of different historical time periods. It also creates an opportunity for like-minded students to get together and talk about books and get excited about reading."

UCPS middle schools that competed in the Union County competition were Cuthbertson, East Union, Marvin Ridge, Monroe, Parkwood, Piedmont, Porter Ridge, Sun Valley and Weddington Middle schools.

The Battle of the Books district competition is sponsored by the North Carolina School Library Media Association.

The regional BoB competition will be held in Union County on March 30, 2011, at the Professional Development Center. The winner of the regional will then advance to the state competition.

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Video by: Don Mace, UCPS Web Communications Coordinator
Posted: Feb 24, 2011 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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