BSE OBOB champions, the Flabbergasted Phoenix Dragon Wizards of Doom (with a Cherry on Top), walked away with the Oregon Battle of the Books state title. 25 elementary schools vied for the state trophy last weekend in Salem, each battling through their own regional competitions to compete at this state tournament.
No team from BSE had ever qualified for the state tournament, but that didn’t discourage the determination and hardwork of these incredible young women. Janet Maza, BSE principal, glowed with pride, stating, “I couldn't be more proud of our team. The team was seeded as the #1 team after the pool play and won all five competitions leading to the championship.“
Even through the school wide tournament, these fifth graders showed incredible grace and poise under pressure. Sagrika M., Arunima D., Natalie M., and Mina B., were committed to overcoming the odds. “The Phoenixes rallied through the loser’s bracket to be crowned BSE champions. I’m not surprised at all that they would continue to show grit and determination at Regionals and State,” shares BSE OBOB chair, Hannah Donohue.
“The coordinators of the tournament approached me after the tournament to comment on how impressed they were of the sportsmanship and poise the girls showed in all of the competitions. The girls always offered a ‘great job’ and a handshake after each competition. They never showed anything but encouragement to each other, even when they answered incorrectly. One of the other team's teammate, visibly upset after losing, was given a hug, a ‘you did well’ from our team. They represented Bonny Slope well in so many ways and we are very proud of them,” Janet added.
Seema, mother of Sagrika, was impressed with the Phoenixes’ work ethic and teamwork, sharing “The team mates are close friends who worked hard to support each other in improving their understanding of the books. They hung out with each other a lot, sometimes working on OBOB, and just having fun at other times. It reinforced the fact that in order to be successful as a team, you need to have fun as a team.”
Fifth-grader Mina credits rereading her assigned books, reading their study session notes and really paying attention to the little details. Sagrika worked in the library, at teammates’ houses and on her own time each day after school.
Even though the girls studied hard, reading and rereading voraciously, they also had various superstitions that helped calm their nerves. Each girl had a different superstition or ritual before each match. Seema shares, “Sagarika would take a swig of coconut milk that we got from Starbucks for each match,including early morning Starbucks run for the school matches.” Mina always had a lego figurine in her pocket for every battle.
The nerve racking and high pressure battles rattled the parents more than the girls. “Most importantly, they never got flustered, each time they fell behind, and just kept going. There were many lessons in teamwork for the grown ups as we watched the girls go from strength to strength through the tournament,” recalls Seema.
Frances, Mina’s mom, agrees. “They never seemed nervous or anxious,” she adds, stating, “They kept their cool when they were down and just kept plugging away and fighting their way back. We parents were way more anxious through the whole thing.”
Of course, these are moments of a lifetime. “I will remember my teammates running to tell me we were first in the top 16,” Sagarika smiles. Arunima’s mom, Manasi, will never forget “the moment they one they state championship.” Natalie was thrilled “being a part of something that was filmed for tv.”
Everyone is thankful for the support that surrounded the girls all season, from parents hosting OBOB prep meetings to Janet and Mr. Traller traveling to Salem to cheer on the team. Congrats to this amazing group of hard-working and positive thinking young women.
Bonny Slope’s OBOB program is funded through your generous BSCO donation.