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Brain Games teams put heads together to promote literacy

April 07, 2013|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Homer Speaker and the rest of the ACT Smart team finished second Sunday at the Brain Games trivia event at James Rumsey Technical Institute.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. — Seventeen teams matched wits Sunday in a competition that put their trivia skills to the test while helping to promote literacy in the Eastern Panhandle.

The 16th annual Brain Games, a fundraiser for Literacy Volunteers of the Eastern Panhandle, was held at James Rumsey Technical Institute.

The competition consisted of four rounds of 25 written questions.  Teams of up to six people had 15 minutes to answer each round of questions. Each correct answer earned a team a point.

"S" Words for $400, Alex, The Herald-Mail Co. team, won the event with a score of 71.

The team has won the contest seven times and has been the victor in the last four games, said team member Bob Fleenor, a five-time “Jeopardy!” champion who works as a Web updater in The Herald-Mail newsroom. Joining him on the winning team were Don Aines, Caleb Calhoun, Crystal Schelle and Jake Womer.

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The second-place winner in Sunday’s games was ACT Smart from the Apollo Civic Theatre in Martinsburg, W.Va., with a score of 65. Third place had to be determined with an extra question to break a tie between We Used to be Dyslexic But Now We’re KO and mmm Brainz.

The tiebreaker question was to name as many state capitals as they could in 60 seconds. The team mmm Brainz won the tiebreaker with a score of 20 compared to 17 for We Used to be Dyslexic But Now We’re KO.

The questions cover a range of topics related to pop culture, history, geography, sports, politics and others.

A few examples from Sunday’s questions included:

Q. In what Midwest city was Walt Disney born?

A: Chicago

Q. What Beatles’ song begins with the lyrics, “I read the news today, oh boy?”

A: “A Day in the Life”

Q. What do you measure with an opisometer?

A: Distances on a map or a curved line

Many of the questions at one time were created by a graduate dean at Shepherd University. Judy Malone, the coordinator of the contest, said she now formulates them.

Fleenor said the difficulty of the questions has varied a little over the years, but they have settled into a nice format.

“It’s the right blend. It’s just tough enough,” Fleenor said.

Kathryn Cooperman of Martinsburg said she remembered competing in the first Brain Games. She said that contest was held at a church on Boyd Orchard Road, and she recalled a big spread of food for the event. She also said the questions were very hard.

Money is raised for Literacy Volunteers of the Eastern Panhandle through $25 entry fees, and through raffles and a book sale, Malone said.

Literacy Volunteers of the Eastern Panhandle teaches basic literacy skills and offers tutoring at libraries, churches and other locations, officials said.

The literacy training has taken another step forward now that the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Library received a $15,000 grant, Brain Games officials said Sunday.

The grant will be used to supply the library with laptop computers and computer work stations for literacy training, said Patricia Woodson, a spokeswoman for the project.

The program also will be beneficial to students who are busy with big families and tight schedules because they will be able to participate in training wherever there is Internet access, Woodson said.

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