The districtwide Battle of the Books competition may have looked different this year from years prior, but the battle continued at both the middle school and high school level.
Traditionally, teams competed within the district competition by campus, and the top campus-specific team at the middle school level and high school level made up the teams in their respective categories to move on to the next competition. This year, individual students from all six STISD campuses competed virtually on Jan. 27 for a chance to make up one STISD middle school and one STISD high school team.
Twenty-four middle school students and 13 high school students registered to compete for a chance to qualify for the regional competition in February. The two competing teams are comprised of the top four students from the middle school and high school competitions.
The middle school team consists of: Arun Dhevan, 8th-grader at Rising Scholars from Harlingen; Rachel Kwon, 7th-grader at Preparatory Academy from Mission; Isabella Reyna, 8th-grader at Rising Scholars from La Feria; and Maryhan Saleh, 8th-grader at Rising Scholars from Harlingen.
The high school team consists of: Yamilex Cardiel, senior at Medical Professions from Brownsville; Benjamin Castillo, sophomore at Science Academy from Edinburg; Lizzie Flores, sophomore at Science Academy from Brownsville; and Lillian Lopez, senior at Science Academy from Edinburg.
Competitors at both the middle and high school level were required to read five grade-specific titles, and had an opportunity to meet virtually with their campus librarians for weekly coaching sessions to prepare. Students were then tested on these titles for a chance to earn a finalist position on the two advancing teams. At the middle school level, titles included: “Wishtree” by Katherine Applegate, “Small Spaces” by Katherine Arden, “Secret Soldiers” by Keely Hutton, “Look Both Ways” by Jason Reynolds, and “Lety Out Loud” by Angela Cervantes. The high school titles included: “Stepsister” by Jennifer Donnelly, “Scythe” by Neal Shusterman, “With the Fire on High” by Elizabeth Acevedo, “The 57 Bus” by Dashka Slater, and “The Silence Between Us” by Alison Gervais.
The online competition consisted of 40 questions, with eight questions per each book.
Nine districts will compete at the Region One Battle of the Books Competition, which will take place online this year. The high school competition is scheduled for Feb. 9 and the middle school competition for Feb. 10.