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The middle school Battle of the Books winners from Valle Crucis include (front row, from left) Morgan Hoyt, Mac Waters, Emma Carder, William Nelsen, Laiken Johnson, Finley Collins and (back from, from left) Max Hagaman, Sammy Osmond, Bailey Shuford and Jeremy McAdams. Photo submitted.

Originally published: 2013-04-11 09:58:31
Last modified: 2013-04-11 10:01:39

Bethel, Valle Crucis win Battle of the Books

by Staff Reports

The Bethel Elementary blue team has won the elementary grades title, and the Valle Crucis Elementary red team has won the middle school championship in the Watauga County Schools Battle of the Books competitions for 2013.

Both teams now go on to represent the Watauga County Schools in regional Battle of the Books competition later this month, with the Bethel team headed to Hickory and the Valle Crucis team to Statesville.

The Bethel team, which competed March 19, includes Timmy Yates, Alex Greene, Jeffery Greene, Chris Presnell, Cyrus Martinez, Dalton Rominger, Jocelyn Viale, Alexis Hodges and Lily Trivette.

The Valle Crucis team includes Morgan Hoyt, Mac Waters, Emma Carder, William Nelsen, Laiken Johnson, Finley Collins, Max Hagaman, Sammy Osmond, Bailey Shuford and Jeremy McAdams. The middle school competition occurred Tuesday.

Bethel has the smallest enrollment in the Watauga County Schools system, but it is no stranger to winning honors.  The middle school team has won the Battle of the Books the last two years in a row, and their victory in the elementary grades contest this year makes this the third consecutive year that a Bethel team has won one of the two competitions.

Mitzi London, the school's media specialist and technology facilitator, coached Bethel's winning Battle of the Books team. London praised the work of her team and the backing it receives from colleagues and parents at Bethel. 

"We continue to have strong teacher and staff support and our parents are extremely supportive as well. Oh, and our students are incredible!" she said. "I feel blessed to be a part of this Bethel learning community."

Valle Crucis media specialist Wendy Nicholson coached her school's middle school team with assistance from fifth grade teacher Mary Ruth Hagaman. Like London, Nicholson complimented her team's effort and was grateful for the support students received from teachers and parents.

"We are really fortunate that Valle Crucis students have such committed parents and faculty to encourage their best efforts, and we see that commitment reflected in what our students achieve," she said. "Our team has done an excellent job, and I am very proud of their work."

In the elementary grades competition, the Green Valley gold team narrowly won second place with 240 points, just ahead of the Hardin Park electric team with 238 points.

In the middle school contest, the Valle Crucis champions compiled 216 points, slightly more than the 210 points awarded to the Hardin Park maroon team, followed by the Cove Creek burgundy team with 194 points.

A total of 15 teams participated in Battle of the Books for grades 4-5, and 13 teams participated in grades 6-8. Each team plays every other team once in each competition, and each round consists of 12 questions posed to each team. 

The questions ask students to identify "in which book" a specific scene, event or character appears. Points are scored by correctly naming the title and author of the book, and the winning team is determined on the basis of total points scored in all rounds combined.

Hardin Park media specialist Candice Trexler coordinates the event with help from school media specialists and about 65 volunteers. Dozens of parents, current and retired school system employees, and other community volunteers helped out as moderators, timekeepers, scorekeepers and judges. 

"Battle of the Books truly cannot happen without volunteers," Trexler said. "They are an integral part of the competition, and we are very grateful for all that they do."

Trexler also noted that community support for Battle of the Books extends beyond the time contributed by volunteers. The Watauga Education Foundation provided a grant of $1,000 to help out with program expenses, and Mount Vernon Baptist Church generously donated the use of its classrooms and gym to host both the elementary and middle school competitions.

Battle of the Books is a reading incentive program available locally to students in grades 4 through 8. The books selected for the program are a mix of classics and new favorites in a wide variety of literary genres.  

This year's reading list for Battle of the Books includes 17 titles for elementary grade students and 27 for middle school teams. Trexler praised the program as a valuable asset in encouraging students to read.

"Battle of the Books is an opportunity for students to participate in a competitive atmosphere while enhancing their reading skills, enjoying quality literature and being part of a team environment," she said.

Anyone interested in supporting Battle of the Books can contact Candice Trexler at Hardin Park School at (828)264-8481. Additional information about Battle of the Books, including the list of books for this year and next, is available online at

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