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Pages were turning at Stafford Primary School on March 8 when teams from 58 primary schools around the area gathered for an Oregon Battle of the Books (OBOB) regional competition.

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: KATE HOOTS - From left, Boeckman Creek readers Kyle Lam, Peyton Tolboe, Cameron Koenig, Ellie Count and Eliab Bautista take a break between matches.Teams of four to six students from each school had prepared for the competition by reading 16 fiction and nonfiction titles throughout the school year. Each team had earned its spot in the regional competition by emerging victorious from sometimes fierce competition at the school level.

The competitive spirit was palpable in a room where two teams from West Linn went head to head in the third game of pool play designed to determine who would claim a bracket spot. Willamette’s Book Bandits and Stafford’s Narwhal Knights were both veterans of the competition.

“Last year we lost by one point to a fifth-grade team,” Zach Walton said. He is a current fifth-grader and a member of the Book Bandits. "We’ve been working this whole year to get here.”

The Narwhal Knights also had worked hard to reach this point in the statewide competition. Although neither team advanced to bracket play, the Knights were successful by at least one measure.

“They got farther this year than last. Every year it’s been a marked improvement,” parent Nicole Ulwelling said.

Wilsonville also was represented at the regional competition. A five-person Boeckman Creek team made its debut appearance at the regional level.

“It was our first year, so not everyone knew how to do it so well,” Peyton Tolboe said. One member, Kyle Lam, had joined the team just a couple of weeks ago.

Despite the unfamiliarity of the situation, the team seemed relaxed, and members were all smiles in between matches.

“We feel pretty confident,” Peyton said.

In the end, only one team from West Linn-Wilsonville made it into the “sweet 16.” The Dragonfly Readers, a team of third- and fourth-graders, represented Boones Ferry Primary School’s debut in the statewide OBOB reading competition after coming out on top of the 17 teams at their school.

The Dragonfly Readers finished the regional tournament in 13th place out of the 58 teams attending. The overall winner was a team from Access Academy, and that team will be joined at the state competition by three other teams from the region: Richmond, Abernathy and Winterhaven elementary schools.

Win or lose, most considered the day well spent.

“It was a very successful and fun day,” Stafford’s instructional coordinator and the tournament’s organizer, Patrick Minor, said.

He expressed willingness to host the event again next year.

“We would like to continue hosting,” he said. “This event is a celebration of literacy, teamwork and sportsmanship, with all the students representing each of their respective schools so well.”

By Kate Hoots
Education reporter
503-636-1281, ext. 112
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