LUMBERTON — As Parkton Elementary School was announced as the first place winner for the Public Schools of Robeson County’s second- and third-grade Battle of the Books competition, there were cheers, waves and applause as the eight-member team made their way to the stage.
Elizabeth Durham’s smile, which extended from ear to ear, told her every emotion as she and each team member bent forward to receive their medallions.
“I just felt like I was going to jump out of my pants for a second when they called Parkton for the first place. My favorite book was “Stuart Little.” None of them were hard except for “The One and Only Ivan.” None of the questions were hard. Battle of the Books is not that hard and everyone should try it out,” said Durham.
Even after reading 15 books for months and competing for three days, the second- and third-graders put up a stiff competition at the Public Schools of Robeson County Battle of the Books second- and third-grade competition.
The second place winner was East Robeson Elementary, and Prospect Elementary School took third place. Eighteen elementary schools participated in the competition, which was held last week at Lumberton Junior High. The sixth to eighth grade Battle of the Books competition is March 2-4. The fourth and fifth grade Battle of the Books competition is March 16-18.
As the competition questions ended, it started back up as three teams were tied with 59 points for third place. The students rallied their minds as the moderator, Arine Lowery, called each question. “In which book are jelly donuts a girls best friend?” …. “In which book does a girl put her hand in water that has pretty fish with sharp teeth?” After an additional round, Prospect Elementary beat out Rowland Norment and Piney Grove to take third place.
Kayla Herrera also competed for the first time. The third-grader from Parkton said none of the books were hard for her.
“It just feels spectacular because a lot of the other times we were in front by a point or we were behind a point. One time, I thought Tanglewood was going to win and another time I thought Union was going to win, but then we came in first place. My favorite book was “Who is Amelia Earhart.” I said that if Taylor Swift didn’t exist, Amelia Earhart would have been my role model,” said Herrera.
During the three-day competition, parents, grandparents and school supporters cheered on the more than 200 students from each elementary Battle of the Books team. Elizabeth Durham’s mother Katherine watched intently with the others as each question was read.
“I am really, really proud and they all worked really hard. This is Parkton’s first time. The fact that they worked really hard makes me very proud and to show their hard work and effort gave a good result. Elizabeth was a good student before, but I think having competitions like this show it is not just sports, but that academics can also be celebrated. It shows students, you can achieve and do great things with academics,” said Durham.
Tasha Oxendine is the public information officer for the Public Schools of Robeson County.