Ringgold woman in 'battle' to help kids

February 28, 2007|by JANET HEIM

Editor's note - There are a lot of people you see around town that you recognize, but don't know anything about. People like ...

Marty Mettille

Occupation - Owner of Marty and Crew, a home improvement business.

Hometown - Westminster, Md.

Where would you see Mettille? - With the Battle of the Books competition coming up Saturday. Mettille and her Old Forge Elementary School team of readers are busy with final practices for the event.

This is the fourth year Mettille has been involved with the school's team, and her third competition as manager. Last year, her team finished in second place in the competition.

Battle of the Books is an annual event sponsored by the Washington County Free Library, Susquehanna Bank and Hagerstown Trust. This year, it is at Eastern Elementary School.


Mettille said she started meeting with interested students in the fall, even before the managers received the list of 20 books the teams would be quizzed on. Teams are made up of no more than eight students from grades four to six.

She said she always begins with a larger group, and once students realize how big the commitment is, some quit.

This year's Old Forge team - The Incredible Readers - meets every Thursday for 1 1/2 hours after school. The earlier practices involve team-building exercises, but later practices focus on asking questions about the books.

After Mettille receives the assigned books, students sign up to read five or six they will become experts in. This year, she said three members of the team will read all 20 books.

The books vary in difficulty, and Mettille makes sure students are selecting books appropriate for their reading ability.

"My big thing is I'm setting the kids up to succeed, not for failure," said Mettille, who is the mother of five - four girls and one boy - ranging in age from 23 to third grade.

The managers are asked to read one of the books, then prepare a list of 100 questions to be shared with the other teams. An avid reader herself, Mettille reads all the books and comes up with 100 questions on each book for her team's practices.

At the written competition on March 3, the 15 teams will each answer two questions on each book. They are also expected to know the names of the authors.

The top eight teams will advance to the verbal competition on Saturday, March 17.

"I can sincerely say it doesn't matter what place we come in. I know the students on my team have been enriched by the books they read," said Mettille, who admits to being competitive.

Her personal favorite this year is a book titled "Carry On Mr. Bowditch," by Jean Lee Latham.

Hobbies - "I love my two Girl Scout troops. They're my hobbies. I like doing everything they do," Mettille said.

Mettille is leader of a junior troop and a Brownie troop through the Shawnee Council. Last weekend, her junior troop spent the night on the battleship New Jersey in Camden, N.J.

She used to ride horses, but said she doesn't have time for that now. Instead, she cares for the family's horses, so her girls can ride them.

What does Mettille like best about Washington County? - Marty Mettille moved to Washington County 15 years ago when she married Paul Mettille. They live on a farm in Ringgold.

She said the reason they moved to Washington County was because it reminded her of how Carroll County was when she was growing up there.

If you know anyone in the community who might make an interesting Our Town feature, contact Janet Heim at 301-733-5131, ext. 2024 or e-mail

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