ATLANTA - The typical summer vacation for a middle schooler includes a trip to the beach, the mountains and, if they're lucky, Disney World.
But for a group of rising seventh and eighth graders in metro Atlanta, this summer has truly been a battle -- A Battle of the Books.
The students were assigned to read 10 books over eight weeks. This year's theme was "The mind runs the race to success."
In competitions at The Cottage School in Roswell and other locations, the students were asked questions about the books.
Books this year included "Vincent van Gogh, Portrait of an Artist" by Jan Greenberg, "The Phantom Tollbooth" by Norton Juster and "The Story of SALT" by Mark Kurlansky.
The boys were required to rotate between teams, and the team with the most correct answers about the books won the competition.
Team “Ready to Roll" was the overall winner. Jalen Gardner was the highest scorer for correct answers while on his original team. Julian Corbin was the highest scorer for correct answers while rotated onto team "Hot to Trot."
Nick Schweninger won the Vocabulary Master Award for correctly matching the most words with their definitions. Corbin won the Last Man Standing Award for correctly identifying the most characters and books with the right quotes.
Corbin, along with newcomers to the Battle Adrian Whatley and Jackson McDougall, attended every meeting over the summer and nailed perfect attendance.
Honorable Mention recognition went to AJ Kurtz, another newcomer, for contributing to the overall performance of both teams.
Organizers say the battle competitions have been a great way to make reading fun and something that doesn't have to be limited to the classroom or homework assignments.
And their supporters -- St. Andrew Life Teen, Emerging 100 of Atlanta, The Cottage School, Delta Sigma Phi at Oglethorpe University, and Trammell Athletics -- made it all possible.
Next summer, the boys will be invited to attend Camp FDC (forensics and debate challenge) to transition from just reading thought-provoking novels, to debating issues in those novels.
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