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April 10, 2017

Wakefield, Thompson tie in Battle of the Books contest

Contributed photo
Members of Wakefield’s team included: Emily Kim, Maclain Conlin, Natalie Handford, Amanda Wilhelm and Darcy Marcoux.
Members of Thompson’s team included: Marcella Lawhorn, Kelby Grady, Ali Patusky, Elizabeth Fishback and Georgia Grady.
By Karen Parkinson
Fauquier County Public Schools

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“Are we sure? Are we sure?”

Team captain Ali Patusky whispered that question to her four fellow Thompson Elementary School team members through nearly every one of the 12 regular rounds and three tie-breaking rounds at the annual Elementary School Battle of the Books competition last week.

The competition took place April 5 at Liberty High School.

Ali’s strategy, prior to voicing her team’s answer, ended up being a winning one as Thompson Elementary tied with private Wakefield School for the coveted title.

All 11 Fauquier County Public elementary schools and two private schools, Highland and Wakefield, participated in this year’s competition.

The contest calls upon teams to identify titles of books that contain specific facts or quotations from the 20 books that students read in preparation for the literary battle.

With Steve Payne, instructional supervisor of English and reading, serving as moderator, all 13 teams received the same questions for the first six rounds and were given 45 seconds to confer and write down their answer.

At the competition’s midpoint, the end of the first six rounds, three teams had perfect scores — Greenville, Thompson and Wakefield.

But, four teams (Pearson, Pierce, Ritchie and Smith) were close on their heels with only one incorrect answer each, so the highly competitive championship was still up for grabs.

For the next six rounds, each team was asked a unique question and had 30 seconds to confer before the team captain answered orally.

Greenville’s first question in this round stumped the team, dropping them one behind the still-correct Thompson and Wakefield teams.

Competition was heated and close, as many of the teams went back and forth between correct and incorrect answers.

However, Thompson and Wakefield never faltered through the second set of six rounds, giving each of them a perfect score of 12 at the end of the regular competition.

Closest behind them were Pearson, Pierce and Ritchie with 10 of 12 questions answered correctly.

It was time for a face-off between Thompson and Wakefield. High fives among Thompson team members and then handshakes between the competing teams set a tone of friendly camaraderie preceding the tiebreaker.

Rules called for three tie-breaking questions, as needed. If one team answered a question correctly and the other team missed it, the competition was over.

Both teams answered the first tiebreaker question correctly. When Thompson incorrectly answered question number two, Wakefield had the chance to secure the championship with one final correct answer.

It was not to be, and Wakefield’s incorrect answer sent both teams to their final tie-breaking question.

Both schools answered correctly, ending the competition in a tie for the first time in recent memory.

Asked to what she attributed Thompson’s stellar finish, captain Ali Patusky said, “We all work together really well. We all balanced each other.”

Ali said her team was “a little nervous” going into the tie-breaking rounds, but, “We let our confidence overcome our nervousness. We told each other, ‘We are gonna do this!’”

Members of Thompson’s team included: Ali Patusky, Marcela Lawhorn, Elizabeth Fishback and sisters Georgia and Kelby Grady.

Members of Wakefield’s team included: captain Natalie Handford, Emily Kim, Amanda Wilhelm, Maclain Conlin and Darcy Marcoux.

The 20 books students read for the competition consisted of the following categories: adventure, award-winners, historical fiction, mystery and suspense, realistic fiction, and science fiction and fantasy.

Judges included Jennifer Schultz from the Fauquier County Public Library and Diane Shofkom, a retired Fauquier public school librarian.
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