- July 4, 2017
Tomoka Elementary's Battle of the Books team won first place at the countywide reading competition held at Daytona State College on March 24.
This year was the first for elementary schools in Volusia County to participate in Battle of the Books, which is a quiz-bowl style competition where students are asked details on books part of the annual Sunshine State Young Readers Award list. Middle and high schools in Volusia County have regularly competed in the competition. Tomoka Elementary placed first out of 26 teams, making the school team the first to take the title at the elementary level, according to a statement supplied to the Observer.
“We put a lot of effort in this competition, and it all paid off," said Hailey Lucas, fourth grade Tomoka Elementary student and Battle of the Books team captain. "I really enjoyed reading all the books, and thank my team for choosing me as team captain. We were a great team."
Tionis Fordham, one of the team's coaches and academic coach at Tomoka, said in the statement that the competition was a "wonderful adventure."
"It is truly amazing and invigorating to be part of such a wonderful journey," Fordham said. "The commitment to excellence demonstrated by the student team, parent supporters and district staff truly showcased some wonderful work taking place within Volusia County schools. I’m extremely proud of our Tomoka team for the hard work and dedication that contributed toward this momentous achievement."
Fourth teacher and team coach Lisi Brugone said she was beaming with pride at the team's success and that the competition ignited a love for books in many students.
"I am in awe of the determination and pride I saw from every school that participated in this Battle of the Books competition," Brugone said. "Every team has made their school proud! Volusia County did a phenomenal job making this competition a success."
In addition to Hailey, the team was composed of fourth grade students Elena Nugent and Carter Edwards, as well as third grade students Valentina Alvorado and Deira Rivas.
“I love books and enjoy being competitive," Valentina said. "Battle of the Books gave me the opportunity to thrive while reading and competing with friends! I can’t wait for next year."