School News

UHS Students Qualify For State Competition: 2016 Grand Battle of the Books

Imagine being presented with new information to learn approximately every hour of your work day, being involved in activities that require your participation before and/or after your work day and often times during evenings/weekends, reviewing information nightly that you’ve learned that day in order to demonstrate your learning throughout the week, and then consider joining a team that requires reading and understanding 28 books throughout the year in order to compete in a state-wide competition representing your organization. If this has you scratching your head as to how you’d ‘fit it all in,’ much less find success in doing so, we’re proud to share that we have these talented individuals right here in Urbandale High School (UHS) and not only have they ‘fit it all in’ but they qualified to compete at the next level in a state-wide competition.

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“I Just Look at the Pictures” team members Front Row: Joshua Mendez, Najda Muhamedagic, Emily Holden, and Andrea Leeper. Back Row: UHS Library Media Specialist/Club Sponsor Christine Watson.

Two groups of Urbandale High School students, led by UHS Library Media Specialist and Club Sponsor Christine Watson, formed two Battle of the Books teams where each team was required to collectively read 28 books throughout the school year and meet on a weekly basis in order to discuss the books in preparation for the competition. The “I Just Look at the Pictures” team and “The Guardians of the Library” team took their qualifying tests in March, competing against approximately 75 other high school teams, with “The Guardians of the Library” team taking second place and moving on to compete against 15 other teams in the state-wide Grand Battle of the Books competition taking place at Marshalltown High School on April 26, 2016.

“It’s an honor to qualify for the Grand Battle of the Books; we’ve spent so much time working for it and I’m so proud of our team,” said UHS student Lindsey Ingraham.

“I’ve been doing Battle of the Books for five years now, and it’s still one of my favorite things to do,” said UHS student Cole Jansen.

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“The UHS Guardians of the Library” team members Front Row: Cole Janssen, Chaz Nell and Varun Vepa. Back Row: Lydia Burg, Lindsey Ingraham, UHS Library Media Specialist/Club Sponsor Christine Watson, and Jordan Henderson.

During the Marshalltown competition, students will participate in four semi-final rounds to determine the final four teams who will then participate in the final Grand Battle where an overall winner will be selected.

“To me it just shows that our hard work and dedication throughout the year paid off,” said UHS student Lydia Burg.

The Iowa High School Battle of the Books program is open to all high school age students in grades nine through twelve. Teams consist of four to six students meeting weekly beginning in May of the previous school year through April of the current school year. As this is the first year UHS has participated in the competition, our two teams started a bit later than other teams throughout the state.

“To qualify for the Grand Battle is almost indescribable; we’ve worked so hard in such a short amount of time compared to the other teams to get to the place where we are today,” said UHS student Jordan Henderson. “Between reading and making questions to study, we have all made memories together that I know I’ll cherish from this experience. I can’t wait to all get back together next year to start over and make new memories together.”

“It has been my great honor to work with the students who participated in Battle of the Books for the 2016 season,” said Watson. “As a new member of the UHS staff, Battle of the Books gave me the opportunity to work with students who share a love of reading and academic competition. The relationships I have built with these special students remind me why I chose to be an educator here at UHS. No matter the outcome of our performance at the Grand Battle I am immensely proud of all the hard work and dedication of the students who participated this year. I am already anticipating an amazing season next year.”

The Urbandale Community School District congratulates all of these students for their dedication and commitment to their Battle of the Books teams throughout the school year. These talented students have learned a great deal, in addition to the content of the 28 books, as they have increased their understanding of group dynamics, gained greater collaboration skills, and identified the approach that worked best for each individual to contribute value for the overall success of the group. These skills will serve them well on their pathway of becoming ready for college and/or career. We wish “The Guardians of the Library” team the best of luck in Marshalltown on April 26th. Well-done!