Don’t let anyone tell you teens don’t read. On March 7, 75 high school students descended upon Independence High School to compete in the Second Annual Battle of the Books. These students answered trivia questions about 12 pre-determined books, one from each major genre of literature. The librarians hosted the competition while volunteers from Frisco ISD, Frisco Public Library, and Children’s Plus, Inc. offered their expertise as guest judges.
The tournament grew significantly from year one to year two. In 2018, three high schools participated. In 2019, all high schools in the District had a team entered in the big competition, some with as many as three separate teams waving the same school flag.
In the first round, students faced off in double-elimination brackets in four locations around Independence. The winner of each bracket moved on to the semifinals. The questions got harder, and the race intensified as students from Centennial, Independence, Memorial and Reedy competed in front of an audience of their peers. Only the top two teams would move on to the finals.
Reedy’s team, fueled by cheese puffs and laughter, won first place in the semifinal round. Independence’s team took second place, eyes gleaming with quiet fervor.
In the final round, teams would be tasked with answering the most difficult questions, as well as writing both the name of the book and its author. Two points were possible for each question. There were thirty questions, plus extra prepared in the event of a tie. Unlike in the earlier rounds, the scorekeeper would keep the score a secret.
Often the teams responded with the same answer, simultaneously reassuring them of accuracy as well as worrying them that the other team was keeping pace. Independence was all smiles and nervous energy. Reedy was boisterous and spilling around the sides of their battle zone.
In the end, the tournament was won by a three questions margin. Earning 46 points to Reedy’s 40 points, Independence took home the trophy. The crowd cheered, congratulations were exchanged, pictures were taken and all students moved on to the second most important event of the day: eating an enormous potluck lunch.
Plans are in the works for next year’s FISD High School Battle of the Books. The librarians are happily buckling under student pressure to submit the book list before summer break. Where the trophy will end up in 2020 is anyone’s guess, but the competition already looks to be fierce.
Congratulations to all students who participated in the event and Independence High School students Meenal Arora, Kruthi Kanduri, Shaili Manda and Anika Sharma for taking home this year’s trophy.