W.L Swain students win Reading Bowl

A team from W.L. Swain Elementary School celebrates after placing first in Northwest Georgia Region Competition for the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, at Pickens County High School. Pictured are Alijah Harris (front row, from left), Emily Demain, Kenley Garland, Emma Smith, Isabella Smith, a student assistant; Principal Elizabeth Anderson (back row, from left), Kim Crider, an assistant coach, Shana Cagle, the head coach, Asher Lee, Anna Caroline Parker, Heleina Pate, Jack Jenkins and Sherri Wilson, an assistant coach. / Gordon County Schools

A team from W.L. Swain Elementary School placed first in the Northwest Georgia Region Competition for the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl on Saturday.

“I cannot express how incredibly proud I am of our Reading Bowl Team. This was the first time our team has placed high enough at the region level to advance to divisional competition, so to walk away with a first place win demonstrates a tremendous level of commitment from both the students and the coaches,” said Principal Elizabeth Anderson. “These dedicated students have practiced for months and their hard work and perseverance certainly paid off.”

With Saturday’s result at Pickens County High School, the team will now advance to the North Divisional Competition, set for March 2 in Stone Mountain.  If the team moves on, it will compete at the University of Georgia on March 30 for the state competition.

Students on the team are Alijah Harris, Emily Demain, Kenley Garland, Emma Smith, Asher Lee, Anna Caroline Parker, Heleina Pate and Jack Jenkins. The team is coached by Shana Cagle with the help of assistant coaches Kim Crider and Sherri Wilson, as well as student assistant Isabella Smith.

The Reading Bowl was created several years ago by Helen Ruffin, a library media specialist based in Dekalb County, as a way of using the nominee books from the Georgia Children’s Book Awards to get her students to read, according to the UGA College of Education. So she turned a reading competition into a game, where teams of students compete to show their knowledge of the selected books.

Georgia students in grades 4-12 are eligible to compete in the Reading Bowl. The state championship is held during the annual Conference on Children’s Literature.

For more information about the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl and how to get involved, visit dekalbschoolsga.org/helen-ruffin-reading-bowl.