Fritsch fifth graders win contest |

Fritsch fifth graders win contest

by Teri Vance

A group of fifth-graders from Fritsch Elementary experienced the thrill of victory when they learned they won a nationwide contest – the Thinking Cap Quiz.

“We cheered and we ‘high fived’ each other,” said team member Jennifer King, 11.

The 17-member team was made of students from Anne Lenhares and Linda Peterson’s fifth-grade classes. Computer teacher Irene Waltz also helped coach the team.

The Thinking Cap quiz is a national contest that tests students’ general knowledge in a variety of areas including math, science, geography and current events.

Students were asked 100 questions and given one hour to answer all of them. They were judged on speed and accuracy.

The questions came up on a computer screen and two students were designated as typists. The typists read the questions aloud, then typed in the group’s answer.

“The hardest part was listening to everybody screaming out different answers,” said Daniel Scarbrough, who was one of the typists for the group. “I just tried to figure out which one they were screaming out the most.”

Despite the occasional communication problems, the team members and the coaches said it was teamwork that really made the success.

“We wouldn’t have won if we wouldn’t have worked together,” said Caitlin Hasty, age 11.

Peterson said the team members encouraged each other.

“The whole thing was very positive,” she said. “There were no put downs.”

Eric Larson, 11, said the victory was not only a result of the teamwork but also because of the coaches.

“Thanks to our teachers, we won this,” he said. “Without their help, we wouldn’t have won.”

The students began studying for the test before Christmas and spent an hour and a half after school every Wednesday preparing for the competition.

“It’s fun staying after school and it’s fun being with a lot of people,” said 11-year-old Anna Macquarie.

“Plus, we won,” added Hasty.

Students also studied on their own time and kept up on current events.

Ernie Adler, former state senator whose daughter was on the team, donated the thinking caps, which are red baseball caps with white letters that read “Fritsch Elementary.”

“They’re really cool hats. They’re like grandpa hats,” said Micah Laak, 10. “They’re awesome.”

The team members wore the hats backward because, they said, “it’s tradition.”

Lenhares said the contest was a good experience for the students.

“It was good to give the kids the opportunity to stretch themselves,” she said. “It was a good challenge.”