SULPHUR, Okla. – The School for the Deaf earned a fourth place award in the national Battle of the Books competition held at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.
OSD team members who competed against three other teams were: eighth-grader Dylan Dickson from Shawnee, sixth-grader April Pennel from Hulbert and seventh-grader Kayleah Chebultz from Sulphur.
OSD reading teacher Kristen McCurdy was the sponsor for the team.
Gallaudet University is the world leader in liberal arts education and career development for deaf and hard of hearing students.
Battle of the Books is a middle school competition that promotes literacy, academic competition, good sportsmanship and critical thinking.
“We were one of the top four teams to advance to nationals from the green division teams,” McCurdy said.
Students were divided into three divisions by the colors buff or blue, Gallaudet’s official colors, or green, a reference to the Gallaudet campus known as “Kendall Green.”
Battle of the Books’ rules allowed students to meet for a one-hour study session each day, but McCurdy was not permitted to coach or discuss the books with the students.
“The main idea behind the competition is that it will encourage a love of reading and make them appreciate books more, so they will be more likely challenge themselves to advance and improve on their own,” McCurdy said.
During the preliminary competition, students from 22 teams answered 90 questions about three books. The top eight teams advanced to the playoffs with the top four in each division going on to compete at Gallaudet University.
“In the beginning I was nervous about the competition, but I gained confidence as the competition progressed,” seventh-grader Kayleah Chebultz from Sulphur said. “I would like to do it again next year.”
Chebultz said her favorite book was “Amulet: The Stonekeeper” written by Kazu Kibuishi because “…it was very imaginative and a cool story.”
“Battle of the Books is very demanding on my students on top of their other schoolwork.” McCurdy said. “On top of their homework – sports – family plans, this is extra, but I already have other kids wanting to be involved next year.”
The Oklahoma School for the Deaf has achieved a 100 percent graduation rate for five years. Students must meet all graduation requirements established by the state. In 2014, 235 students lived at the school during the week, commuted from home or attended summer school classes. OSD operates two satellite preschools at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond and the University of Arts and Sciences of Oklahoma in Chickasha. As the statewide resource center for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, OSD provides thousands of free evaluations and direct services each year for students attending local public schools, their families and educators.
The School for the Deaf is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.
For more information, phone (580) 622-4900 or (888) 685-3333 toll free or visit the website at www.osd.k12.ok.us/ .