A team of students representing West Chicago Middle School recently won highest honors in the WordMasters Challenge - a national language arts competition entered by over 220,000 students annually, which consists of three separate meets held at intervals during the school year.
Competing in the very difficult Gold Division of the Challenge, the team of 8th grade students from West Chicago Middle School placed eleventh in the nation in the year-end cumulative standings among 172 school teams participating at this grade level in this division.
In addition, three of the school's students won highest honors for individual achievement in the year's final meet, held in April: Eighth graders Jeanna Brown, Holly Schuning, and Jacob Wellner all earned perfect scores in this meet, while in the entire country only 176 eighth graders did so.
Other West Chicago Middle School students that excelled in the year's final meet included seventh graders Jenna Palka, Pauline Sulit, Josh Bowen, and Theresa Carriveau; and eighth graders Chris Arbudzinski, Lindsay Bruce, Daniel Cautle, Ethan Cuka, George Gonzalez, Carla Jimenez, Kyle Leano, Ethan Nizzi, Anna Nolazco, Rachel Rahman, Itzayanna Salazar, and Raynne Belingon.
The students prepared for the Challenge with the help program coordinator, Patty Pentek and their Language Arts teachers: 8th grade teachers Keith Johnson, Tish Macko, and Bob Rising; and 7th grade teachers Nick Duda, Sue Salak, and Nancy Schmidt.
The WordMasters Challenge is an exercise in critical thinking that first encourages students to become familiar with a set of interesting new words (considerably harder than grade level), and then challenges them to use those words to complete analogies expressing various kinds of logical relationships. Working to solve the Challenge analogies helps students learn to think both analytically and metaphorically. Though most vocabulary-boosting and analogy-solving activities have been created for high school students, the WordMasters materials have been specifically designed for younger students, in grades three through eight. They are particularly well suited for able and interested children, who rise to the challenge of learning new words and enjoy the logical puzzles posed by analogies.
The WordMasters Challenge has been administered for the past 25 years by a company based in Allendale, New Jersey, which is dedicated to inspiring high achievement in American schools. The students will participate in two more meets in the coming months, and medals and certificates will be awarded in June to those who achieved and/or improved the most in the course of the year.
- Gina Steinbrecher
- Community Relations Specialist
- 630.293.6000 ext: 201
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