Teams gather for the Brain Games to benefit Literacy Volunteers of the Eastern Panhandle

April 01, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • Berkeley Brain Bombs team member Christy McDowell waits Sunday for the start of the annual Brain Games competition.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. — Who was the only U.S. president born in New Hampshire?

That question and 99 others pitted 24 teams against each other Sunday in the 15th annual Brain Games benefiting Literacy Volunteers of the Eastern Panhandle.

Knowing that Franklin Pierce, the country’s 14th president, hailed from Hillsborough, N.H., moved some teams up the leader board in the third of four rounds.

The event concluded with The Herald-Mail’s team called ‘S’ Words for $400, Alex, in first place and ACT Smart in the first runner-up position. Spirit Meisters and We Used to be Dyslexic, but Now We’re KO participated in a tiebreaker for additional runner-up spots.

The KO team of Dorsey family members from the Martinsburg, W.Va., area participated for the ninth year with its sights set on fun, not necessarily points.

“We don’t have any illusions of winning,” Mickey Dorsey said after the second round.

Fueled by chips, Reese’s peanut butter cups, coconut M&Ms, nuts and Fritos, each team member laughed and tried to add his or her own skills to the bunch. For instance, Bev Thomas relied on her Trivial Pursuit experiences and offered up her penmanship to record answers.

Teresa Palmer joked that she provided the coupons for snacks.

“It’s for a good cause, and we have a lot of fun,” Mickey Dorsey said.

Mark Stohr, named an honorary Dorsey family member for the day, said he appreciates the Brain Games offering a used book sale. That also benefits Literacy Volunteers of the Eastern Panhandle.

“I brought in three bags, and I’m leaving with one bag,” he said.

About 60 people volunteer in different capacities with Literacy Volunteers of the Eastern Panhandle, which helps adults, particularly those below a fifth-grade reading level.

“We do basic reading, we do English as a Second Language, and we so some math tutoring for adults,” Paula Gould said.

Gould teaches adult basic education at James Rumsey Technical Institute, where the Brain Games were held. She shared stories from a recent discussion with tutors.

“The one tutor had a student who voted for the first time and wrote his first check,” she said.

The Quizzlers team has participated 13 times in the Brain Games.

“We think we’re going to get smarter, but we don’t,” Janice Curbow said with a laugh.

Curbow, of Winchester, Va., said she enjoys the math questions.

“It’s a lot of fun. Even if you don’t know anything, it’s a lot of fun,” Toni Milbourne said, saying the Quizzlers team finished last one year.

Christine Miller Ford from Gerrardstown, W.Va., participated in the first Brain Games and returned Sunday.

“I think it’s much harder,” said Ford, who played with Spirit Meisters.

She and her colleague from the Spirit of Jefferson newspaper, Robert Snyder, tried to prepare prior to the event.

“We were giving each other questions on the ride over here, but I don’t think it helped,” said Snyder, of Ranson, W.Va.

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