June 10, 2021
Boyce teams sweep English Festival competition
Boyce Middle School swept the grades 4-6 division of the 2021 Virtual English Festival, with teams finishing first, second and third. In total, four Boyce teams finished among the top 10 out of a field of 21 teams from throughout the region.
Boyce Team #10 earned top honors with 109 points. Team members include sixth graders Avantika Palayekar, Nithya Kommineni, Leela Kulkarni and Saara Iyer.
Finishing second was Boyce Team #17, which includes sixth graders Sidney Schalk, Lainie Guarino, Madalyn Burchill and Caroline Barnard. In third place as Boyce Team #14 comprised of sixth graders Rachel Scharrer, Anna Ehasz, Lizzi Crossley and Vivian Sliski.
Also finishing among the top 10 was a team of Boyce fifth graders, Boyce Team #19. Team members include Rory Wilson, Grace Nasman and Anvi Damaria.
At Boyce Middle School, the English Festival was led by Mrs. Ginny Husak, school librarian. Several teachers served as judges for the event including Mrs. Nicole Kelly, Miss Eliza Luxbacher, Miss Erin Kyle and Mrs. Donna Phillips.
“Due to Covid restrictions, we could not have our usual Boyce Battle of the Books competition,” Mrs. Husak said. “The English Festival was a nice alternative and was a wonderful option for students who enjoy reading.”
Sponsored by the Western Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of English (WPCTE), this year marked the first-ever virtual festival in the event’s nearly 30-year history. The English Festival is comprised of three grade divisions – grades 4-6, grades 7-9, and grades 10-12. Teams can range between three to five students.
In the 4-6 division, team members were expected to read three books: “Running out of Time,” by Margaret Peterson Haddix; “The Science of Breakable Things,” by Tae Keller; and “Fuzzy,” by Paul Dellinger and Tom Angleberger. From May 3-14, teams completed corresponding asynchronous activities that were scored by a panel of judges. The results of the competition were announced on June 2.
The culminating event of the 2021 English Festival was a virtual author talk on May 14. Students in grades 4-6 heard from author Margaret Peterson Haddix while students in grades 7-12, enjoyed a visit with author Wendelin Van Draanen.
According to the English Festival website, “WPCTE has organized English Festivals for students, grades 4-12, in an effort to promote quality reading among our students. The goal of the festival is to communicate to students the value of literature in the enrichment of their lives.”