RSMS students ready for statewide book challenge

Courtesy photo Roseboro-Salemburg Middle School is preparing for the upcoming Battle of the Books.

Chase Jordan / Sampson Independent Roseboro-Salemburg Middle School educators Olivia Hall and Catina Iverson coach students for the state’s Battle of the Books competition.

Chase Jordan / Sampson Independent Students at Roseboro-Salemburg Middle School prepare for the upcoming Battle of Books event in May.

ROSEBORO — A group of students at Roseboro-Salemburg Middle School are working to become the top book battlers in the state.

After becoming the best in the district, the team earned first place at the Region 4 Battle of the Books (BOB) competition recently held at Sandhills Community College. Now, the students are preparing to compete for the state title, which is set for May 15. It’s sponsored by the North Carolina School Library Media Association.

Seventh-grader Nailea Torres said the team received a lot of encouragement from the teacher-coaches in moments of doubts. She’s ready to be put on the spot when she steps on the stage later this month with her teammates.

“Whenever I go up there, at first I feel nervous,” Nailea said, “but it’s replaced with confidence.”

Nailea is no stranger to victory. She also won Sampson County’s T-shirt design competition for the local Battle of the Books. She is expecting a more rigorous challenge in May.

“The state is the best, so we’re really going have to push ourselves,” Nailea said.

Catina Iverson, co-coach and media specialist, said the students were extremely excited about the competitions.

“We were really in awe about winning,” Iverson said about being proud of the students. “We’re still kind of stoked about it and we’re glad that the hard work and dedication of our students paid off.”

The achievement is also a first for Sampson County Schools and the school located in its Lakewood District. During the last two rounds of the game, the coaches said the students came out on top.

To prepare, students received a list of about 30 books and are later asked detailed questions about the content. Therefore, it’s very important that the students are knowledgeable about the literature and provide a title and author while answering. The students also practice with Hall and Iverson leading up to competitions.

A similar format with a tryout system was used to select students for school teams.

“It’s really the kids who are amazing,” Hall said. “They put in a lot of man-hours preparing for this.”

It’s not an easy task for the students and requires a lot of re-reading.

“After you read the same book four or five times, you’re tired of it and you’re ready to move on,” she said about the avid readers.”They have not been allowed to go to the library and get their own books and they miss that, so they have to put that aside to get ready for the competition.”

But Nailea said she doesn’t mind re-reading the books to master the words on the pages.

“I enjoy reading a lot of books; it’s one of the things that I do the most,” Nailea said. “It’s one of my favorite hobbies.”

Olivia Hall, co-coach and sixth-grade Language Arts teacher, is also proud of the students and is ready for the upcoming competition.

“We don’t know what to expect. but we’re definitely going to bring our A game,” Hall said. “We’re preparing and we hope to do well there as well.”

Eighth-grader Jana Hunter was ecstatic about the first time feat. She’s now ready for the next step and the challenges ahead.

“Paying attention and close reading is a big part of it,” Jana said. “A lot of hard work, dedication and diligence is the key.”