■ By Kyle Selby / Reporter
Battle of the Books at Whittier and Hemet middle schools
Whittier Elementary School hosted its 18th annual “Battle of the Books” on Thursday, May 11, a competition event in which 5th grade students participate to showcase their reading levels.
To participate, students had to pass the Accelerated Reading (AR) test for “A Long Way to Chicago” by Richard Peck, “The Witch of Blackbird Pond” by Elizabeth George Speare, “My Father’s Dragon” by Ruth Stiles Gannett, “The Watsons go to Birmingham” by Christopher Paul Curtis, “The Black Stallion” by Walter Farley, and “Call it Courage” by Armstrong Sperry.
Naida Israelson won first place, while Eldon Bradshaw won second, Alexa Guerrero third, Jamie Young fourth, and Sadee Packham won fifth place.
Fourth grade teacher Ann Lind and her friend Shari Florence started the Battle of the Books competition in 1999, to engage students in reading through friendly competition.
The second district-wide Battle of the Books competition in the middle school division, took place on the day prior, May 10, at Diamond Valley Middle School. There, students from Dartmouth, Rancho Viejo, Diamond Valley, Cottonwood, Hamilton, and Acacia competed in seven rounds, putting their literary skills to the test. Throughout the year, students read a total of 30 books each to prepare for the competition. The competitors ran a relay, played Pictionary, and tested online, among other challenges.
Acacia Middle School came out on top with first place by the time the competition was over. Second place went to Rancho Viejo Middle School, while third went to Diamond Valley Middle School.
Spring Concert for patriotism
Whittier Elementary also recently held its spring concert in celebration of Memorial Day, last week.
First and second grade students performed 10 patriotic songs, including “The Star-Spangled Banner,” using their singing voices, bells, or even Kazoos. Primary chorus students began practicing in January, meeting once a week; the rest of the participants began after Spring Break. Music Teacher Ruthie Savon created the concert, wanting to celebrate the unity of students from all different backgrounds and cultures.