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  Let the Battle Begin!
  Those were the words spoken by Belinda Cashwell, director of media services for Cumberland County Schools, to kick off the second and final day of the 16th annual Cumberland County Schools Battle of the Books Middle School Competition.
 {mosimage} While the ‘battle’ took place Feb. 25-26 in Fayetteville State University’s Shaw Auditorium,  the war is far from over. The first place team, John Griffin Middle School, will go on to compete against 12 other counties in the Region 4 competition in Tabor City on March 11. Before that, the final state competition, representing the top teams of 100 counties in North Carolina, will be held on May 8 at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
  Finishing second to John Griffin Middle School was Hope Mills Middle School, while Max Abbott Middle School took third and Pine Forest Middle School placed fourth. Pine Forest was also tabbed as Most Improved.
  John Griffin Middle School has won the Cumberland County competition in previous years and has placed second and fourth overall at the state level.
  All 16 of Cumberland County’s middle schools competed in the Battle of the Books competition. This year’s event covered a list of 28 books, with teams consisting of six to 12 students plus coaches from each school. During this year’s two-day competition, teams answered questions developed by the state, earning two points for a correct title and an additional point for a correct author. Overall, 960 questions were asked. Teams were allowed to challenge a question if they felt they had given the correct answer.   Of the four challenges presented over the course of the two-day competition, three resulted in correct points being awarded. 
  In preparation for the event, Cathy Storkamp, coach for Douglas Byrd Middle School, had her students meet every school morning and once or twice a week after school to practice by staging a “mock” competition.  Deneen Stanley, one of the coaches for Lewis Chapel Middle School, said that her team practiced during the school week and in January started meeting on Saturday mornings at Books A Million. 
  All teams were recognized and awarded for participation with medallions.
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