Southampton students on top

Published 10:47 am Thursday, February 2, 2012

Nottoway Elementary School fourth-graders Isabelle Araojo, Keagan Fosser and Chase Magette were among 62 to earn perfect scores in the WordMasters Challenge. They competed against 35,760 fourth-graders across the nation. SUBMITTED

COURTLAND—Three Nottoway Elementary School students were among 62 fourth-graders out of 35,760 to earn perfect scores in a nationwide competition that involves interpreting words well above their grade level.

“For little fourth-graders, it’s pretty amazing,” said Julee Herbert, who instructs students Isabelle Araojo, Keagan Fosser and Chase Magette in the gifted program at Southampton County Public Schools.

“It’s wonderful,” added Superintendent Charles Turner. “We are extremely proud of our young people as they compete globally and demonstrate their skills, talents and abilities.”

Other schools in which at least three fourth-graders scored perfect scores in the WordMasters Challenge were Front Hill Elementary School in Vienna; Holy Family in Stow, Ohio; Chesnutwold in Ardmore, Pa.; and St. Marks of Texas in Dallas.

In addition:

• Riverdale Elementary third-grader Madelyn Cosby, competing for the first time, missed one answer. She was among 130 to do so out of 24,030 competing. Fifth-grader Shawn Etheridge also scored a 19 out of 20, making him one of 538 out of 35,760 students.

• Fourth-graders Austin Overstreet from Nottoway and Jacob Rhodes from Meherrin Elementary School missed two questions. They were among 349 to do so out of 35,760.

• Fifth-graders Amani Gray and Madison Heiser, both at Capron Elementary School; Noah Shafter from Riverdale; and Emily Lehman from Meherrin scored 18 points to become four among 780 to do so. There were 37,450 competing in their grade.

• Southampton’s third-grade team scored 158, the national median was 105; the fourth-grade team scored 178; national median was 116; and the fifth-grade team scored 176, national median was 125.

Southampton students compete in three WordMaster Challenge events annually. Each year, they improve, said Herbert.

For the first competition, students were given 25 words five weeks ahead of time, Herbert said. The second and third competitions will involve 50 and 75 words, respectively.

Words for the first meet included, for example, “decrepit,” “ramshackle” and “ruse.” They also are given words with multiple meanings, like “batter.”

Students look up each word’s definition. In class, they will play Charades with the words or draw a picture of the word for other students.

“We discuss the words,” Herbert said. “We also spend a lot of time studying different types of words this competition uses.”

Students are given 20-minute, multiple-choice tests at the school with 20 analogies. Herbert scores them and sends in the results.

“We have gotten better with practice,” she said.