By JIM LANGHAM • Progress Feature Writer
PAULDING – It came down to the final question between Divine Mercy and Grover Hill in this year’s “Battle of the Books” county championship last week at the Paulding County Fairgrounds Youth Leadership Building.
With the score tied at 12-12 in a nail biting match, Catie Strable, spokesperson for the Divine Mercy team, answered correctly to give the school this year’s trophy.
There was a brief hesitancy, then suddenly, team members erupted with the realization that they had just correctly answered the question that had won them the championship.
“That question was the same as last year,” said Strable, whose squad lost to the same Grover Hill squad in 2013. “Allie (Dyson) and I were shocked.”
“I was happy, surprised and all excited,” observed Dyson. “I couldn’t believe that it was the same question that was the final question last year. This year we got it right.”
Dyson said that she loves the “Battle of the Books” concept because it enables her to concentrate more in her reading.
“I like this. It’s the first year I’ve done it,” said team member Treyton Banks.
Library director Susan Pieper explained that the “Battle of the Books” program is literary competition involving Paulding County schools and home-schooled children that is sponsored by the Paulding County Carnegie Library system.
“This is the 23rd year that we have done this,” said Pieper following the event. “We want to encourage the children to read quality literature and find it exciting.
“We want to make reading really fun,” continued Pieper. “There are a lot of good old books out there. Some of them are 100 years old. Paulding County is very unique these days. There are still a lot of very young readers. We want to encourage them to become lifetime readers.”
“I like this because it keeps kids encouraged,” commented team member Jacob Graham. “It’s amazing what we learn about the books.”
“I like it because it makes us all work together,” commented Kaden Sutton. “Not one person does all the work. You have to do it as a team. You can’t rely on one person.”
In the opening round of competition, Antwerp defeated Paulding, 15-9; then, Divine Mercy defeated Payne, 20-15; Grover Hill bested Oakwood, 22-16 and Divine Mercy defeated Antwerp, 22-9, to set up the championship match.
“This is a lot of fun,” observed Carson Rupp, of the winning team. “It teaches us how to read and know what we read.”
“I was nervous when they asked the last question,” commented Cameron Cox. “I like the whole idea. This is the best day of my life. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.”
Fifty books are chosen by the staff of the library for each year’s battle. Staff of the library read the books and compile the questions. All of the schools receive the books at the same time each fall. Home schooled children use the collections at the main and branch libraries.
The slate for the final competition is determined by competition at each local school, with the winning team advancing to the finals.
Each year, 25 titles are kept on the list, and 25 new titles are added. Occasionally, all 50 titles are replaced.