Basswood Elementary wins highest WordMaster Challenge honors

A team of students representing Basswood Elementary School recently won highest honors in the WordMasters Challenge – a national language arts competition entered by approximately 220,000 students annually, which consists of three separate meets held at intervals during the school year.

Competing in the difficult Blue Division of the Challenge, and coached by Laura Jensen, the school’s third graders tied for third place in the nation in the year’s third meet, held in April, among 520 school teams competing at this grade level and in this division.

Three of the school’s students won highest honors for individual achievement as well: third graders Sophia Kormann, Elizabeth O’Callaghan and Owen Wold all earned perfect scores in the meet, while in the entire country only 113 third graders did so.

Others who achieved outstanding results in the meet included third graders Sara Bowman, Allison Kiewatt, Laura Mamedov, Danielle Dillahunt, Sarah Shea, Ethan Wilcox, Grace Bakke and Cooper Petit; fourth grader Anthony Pomerleau and fifth grader Anna Villalon.

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. Now that all three of the year’s meets have been completed, medals and certificates will be awarded to those who achieved and/or improved the most in the course of the year.