After 19 years, students from St. James School in Sewickley take Battle of the Books title
For the first time in 19 years, a team from St. James School in Sewickley took first place in the annual Battle of the Books sponsored by Sewickley Public Library.
The Book Warriors — fourth-graders Sydney Grimes, Cassie Depner, Tyler Pontello, Julia Centofanti and Catherine Martsolf — competed against 21 other teams from Osborne and Edgeworth Elementary schools and others in the April 10 event held at Edgeworth.
St. James fourth-grade teacher Jeanne Riley said she's shocked that a team from the school won after so many years competing in the program, but wasn't surprised that it was this particular team who took first.
“They didn't just read the books they were assigned. They went way beyond that and it showed,” she said.
Participating teams of five had to read a total of 15 books over a nine-week time period.
The library's Battle of the Books instruction page suggests splitting the books — three to each participant — so that someone is responsible for reading each book on the list.
A few of the Book Warriors instead opted to read more than just the three they were assigned to have an advantage when it came to answering questions. Depner said she read 14 of the 15 books, while Pontello read seven.
During the competition, teams had to answer 35 questions about the books, which ranged in genre from mystery to fantasy to historical fiction, Depner said.
Members of the Book Warriors met three times over the nine-week period to discuss their books and socialize.
“It was really fun to hang out with them,” Grimes said, gesturing to her fellow team members.
“I think it was really fun, not just because we came in first. The meetings were a ton of fun. It wasn't just about winning,” Depner said.
Pontello said his favorite part about participating in the battle was “either the food, the parties or reading the books.”
The team already has decided to stick together and compete in next year's event — that is, the girls said, if Pontello doesn't get tired of being the only boy on the team.
“I don't really care as long as I get food — and books,” he said.
Kristina Serafini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1405 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.