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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
540-483-5113
Fax: 540-483-8013

Sontag team wins Brain Game
The academic competition challenged students in math, English, science
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Staff Photo Stacey Hairston: Sontag Elementary team members, from left, Jocelyn Shufelt, Jacob Dent, Tyler Dudley, Tyron Henry, Lilian Davis and coach Gail Brendle show off their winning trophy and spirit stick after becoming champions of this year’s Brain Game competition. Not pictured is Justin Young.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

By STACEY HAIRSTON - Staff Writer

The Sontag Elementary School Brain Game team, coached by Gail Brendle, has earned the title of "champions" after winning Franklin County schools' second annual Brain Game competition.

Team members Jocelyn Shufelt, Tyron Henry, Lilian Davis, Justin Young, Captain Jacob Dent and Co-captain Tyler Dudley battled Henry Elementary in the final round of competition and won by 20 points.

"This is one outstanding group of kids, and we are very proud of them," said Brendle, who is an instructional coach at Sontag Elementary.

Teams of fifth-grade students from each elementary school in the county began competing in the second year of the Brain Game on Jan. 12.

The academic competition challenged students to answer questions from the categories of math, English, science, social studies, geography, arts and entertainment, current events and children's literature. "Many of the questions incorporate aspects of the curriculum but also draw on the students' knowledge of everyday information," said Jodie Robinson, gifted coordinator for Franklin County schools. "The questions required quick thinking and fast recall of knowledge."

Each match was taped by Cable 12 at the Gereau Center and aired on Tuesday evenings. The announcement of the winner was delayed until all the matches had aired on Cable 12.

Matches on the initial rounds of competition included Callaway vs. Burnt Chimney, Glade Hill vs. Ferrum, Dudley vs. Henry, Boones Mill vs. Windy Gap, Rocky Mount vs. Sontag, and Snow Creek vs. Lee M. Waid. Winners from that round were Burnt Chimney, Ferrum, Henry, Windy Gap, Snow Creek and Sontag.

"It was nerve-wracking," said Shufelt.

"Before and after each round, I would sing 'We Are the Champions' by Queen for good luck," said Dudley.

Second round matches took place on Feb. 9 and included Ferrum vs. Burnt Chimney, Windy Gap vs. Henry, and Snow Creek vs. Sontag. Winners from that round were Ferrum, Henry and Sontag.

Final rounds took place Feb. 16 and included a play-off match between Ferrum and Sontag, in which Sontag won. Henry advanced to the championship match automatically due to scoring the highest points of the final three teams in the second round.

Sontag edged Henry in the championship match with a final score of 270 (Sontag) to 250 (Henry).

"It was a very close and exciting match," said Robinson.

"Each child on our team had their own special strength, whether it be social studies, books, math or sports," said Brendle.

"I watch a lot of sports and the Olympics," said Shufelt. "And that helped."

"Sontag has a lot of trophies," said Dudley. "And we just brought one more."

Brendle was unable to attend the championship rounds, so Sontag principal Denny Robey filled in as the team's head coach that day.

"He worked with the team to review current events information, academic skills and geography prior to their matches," said Robinson. "This is just one example of how much he cares for his students and how willing he is to always go the extra mile for them. And it paid off." 

The competition's name, Brain Game, was derived from submissions by fifth-graders across the county.

Funding for the t-shirts was provided by Roy Enslow of Bridgewater Marina.

Theme music for the televised competition was created by Dave Campbell's electronic music class at FCHS, and Ken Kilinski's telecommunications class at FCHS taped the introduction segments for Cable 12 to use prior to each episode.

All participants received a Brain Game t-shirt whose logo was designed by students in Barbara Schafer's 2011-2012 art class at The Gereau Center.

The Brain Game champion received a special spirit stick, created by Franklin County elementary art teacher Rebecca Conklin and her 2011-2012 art students at Windy Gap and Dudley elementary schools, to display in their building.

The top three schools received trophies, as well as a pizza party for their entire fifth-grade class.

Steve Angle, mayor of Rocky Mount and a teacher at Franklin County High School, was host for the event.

"Steve Angle did an outstanding job as master of ceremonies," said Robinson.

Franklin County School Board members Sarah Alexander, Crystal Naff, Ed Jamison, Bill Brush, G.B. Washburn and P.D. Hambrick served as guest judges for the competition.

"The Brain Games is a great enterprise for all schools to be a part of," said Robey. "It highlights a child's ability to think quickly, analyze problems and compete against teams of other talented students."

"Winning is only a small part of this experience, as they love it whether they win or not," he added. "We are proud of them. All of the teams had really talented students."

"We are very happy we won," said Dent. "We really wanted to be champions."

 
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