Two BCSD students earned overall Top 10 in the nation; nine earned perfect scores

2019-20 WordMasters Challenge
Posted on 06/29/2020
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 29, 2020

Students earn perfect scores in national
competition; teams earn Top 10 finishes

BEAUFORT – Nine district students earned perfect scores in the spring edition of a national vocabulary competition, and two student teams earned overall Top 10 national finishes.

The WordMasters Challenge, the nation’s longest-running vocabulary competition for elementary and middle school students, holds three meets each school year for nearly 125,000 students. 

For the third and final WordMasters competition of 2019-20, Beaufort County third-graders with perfect scores were Alexis Devlin, Jude Greenway and Charles Somerall (Beaufort Elementary); Spencer Watts and Lawrence Watts (Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts); and Caiden Beriau (Red Cedar Elementary).  Only 27 third-graders nationwide earned perfect scores in the year’s third WordMasters competition.

Fourth-graders with perfect scores were Norah Laizer and Joaquin Porto-Manfru (Red Cedar Elementary).  Only 16 fourth-graders nationwide earned perfect scores.

Fifth-grader McKenzie Novak (Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts) was among only 86 nationwide to earn a perfect score.

Two district students earned “Highest Honors” recognitions for placing among the nation’s top 15 students in their divisions for their cumulative performance over the entire year (all three WordMasters competitions).  Fourth-graders Robert Eberly (Hilton Head Island Elementary) and Norah Laizer (Red Cedar Elementary) both scored 57 out of a possible 60 points for the year.

In addition to individual student honors, two district schools earned Top 10 national finishes for the year’s third WordMasters meet.  Beaufort Elementary’s third-grade student team placed second in the nation, and Hilton Head Island Elementary’s fourth-grade student team placed ninth in the nation.  Hilton Head Island Elementary’s fourth-graders also finished eighth in the nation for their cumulative performance for the entire school year.

“It’s difficult to overstate the importance of having an extensive vocabulary, and these students are off to an outstanding start,” said Superintendent Frank Rodriguez.  “We’re very proud of them.”

WordMasters teacher-coaches included Tracy Campbell (Beaufort Elementary); Jennifer Friend-Kerr and Mark Sadler (Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts); and Dee Kubic, Stephanie Moldenhauer and Roni Shaner (Red Cedar Elementary).

The WordMasters Challenge is an exercise in critical thinking that encourages students to become familiar with new words that are considerably harder than grade level, then challenges them to use those words to complete analogies that express various kinds of logical relationships. 

Although most vocabulary enrichment and analogy-solving programs are designed for use by high school students, WordMasters materials are created for younger students in grades 3-8.  Working to solve the analogies helps students learn to think both analytically and metaphorically.