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WordMasters Challenge

From left, Pasquale Buffolino, Lorelei Tripp, Rebecca Pashman and Peyton McQuade, pictured on the smartboard. Photo from HCS

Two teams representing Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School in Harborfields Central School District achieved Highest Honors in the 2020-2021 “WordMasters Challenge,” a national vocabulary competition involving nearly 125,000 students annually. The school’s fifth grade team scored an impressive 171 points out of a possible 200 in the first of three meets this year, placing third in the nation. In addition, the fourth grade team scored 186 points to finish fourth nationwide.

Competing in the difficult Blue Division of the challenge were TJL fourth grade students Dylan Basile, Claire Bernstein, Sophie Clayton, Aaron Hardy, Abigail Kelly, Elise Larson, Nora McCloskey, Charlotte Storm, Ariel Tripp and Emma Waldren. Each achieved outstanding results in the meet. 

Fifth graders Pasquale Buffolino, Peyton McQuade, Rebecca Pashman and Lorelei Tripp were in the top 2% nationwide. Additionally, fifth graders Ben Cammarota, Olivia Drew, Lucy Meindel, A.J. Mercuri, Michael Palermo, Belen Ramos, Annabelle Saylor and Charlie Smith achieved outstanding results, contributing to the team’s success. The students were coached in preparation for the challenge by TJL Enrichment teacher Christine Mayr. 

Each year, the WordMasters Challenge exercises students’ critical thinking skills and encourages contestants to become familiar with a set of interesting new words, considerably harder than their grade level. Participants are then challenged to use those words to complete analogies, expressing various kinds of logical relationships.  Working to solve the analogies helps students learn to think both analytically and metaphorically.

“Having worked with these students before, and knowing full well their commitment to excellence, along with our work in the classroom, they were well prepared,” Ms. Mayr said. “As you can see from the results, they excelled and should be proud of their efforts.”

Both teams have already begun preparing for the second challenge scheduled for Feb. 22 and 26