Tom Colley Reading Bee

The Richlands fifth grade team captured the championship in the 10th annual Tom Colley Reading Bee.

BLUEFIELD, Va. — Waiting may have been the hardest part for students at the 10th annual Tom Colley Reading Bee. Fourth and fifth graders from Richlands, Tazewell, Cedar Bluff, North Tazewell and Abbs Valley elementary schools and Graham Intermediate School faced off in a fierce reading competition after weeks of preparation.

“It literally came down to hundredths of a point in some categories,” Kristina Welch, director of Elementary Education, said.

The youngsters waited anxiously for several minutes as the judges compiled the total scores. 

Four-person teams from each of the schools showed their stuff in vocabulary, spelling, comprehension, editing and impromptu challenges. Each grade level had 10 volunteer judges from across the county, many of them retired educators, critiquing their work.

In addition to the big trophy for the overall class winners in fourth and fifth grade the students competed for a trophy and certificates in each of the five categories of competition.

Taylor McAllister, Joseph Trivette, Jacie Smith, Tommy Sparks and alternate Landon Absher brought the fourth grade title to Cedar Bluff. Chloe Fritz, Keyera Hurley, Mia Lawson, Payton Williams and Grant McCall led Richlands to second place. Richlands took the title in the fifth grade and Graham Intermediate finished second. Casey Addison, Rianna Addison, Cooper Hurst, Chloe Shelton and alternate Brooklyn Hill comprised the winning team. Elise Jacobs, Bella Kaklis, Baila Turner and Madeline Young filled the roster for Graham. Tazewell Elementary won the fourth grade spelling competition with Cedar Bluff second and Richlands tied for third with Graham.

Richlands won the fourth grade vocabulary category with Tazewell coming in second and Abbs Valley third. Comprehension winners in the fourth grade were Tazewell, first, Cedar Bluff second and Abbs Valley third.

Richlands won the impromptu category with Cedar Bluff second and Abbs Valley third. Cedar Bluff took top prize in the fourth grade editing with Richlands second and Graham third.

In the fifth grade categories, Richlands won spelling with Graham second and Cedar Bluff third. Tazewell won the vocabulary with Richlands and Graham tying for second.

Richlands won the comprehension with Graham second and Tazewell third. Tazewell and Graham tied for first in impromptu and Richlands was second. Graham took first in editing followed by Richlands and Cedar Bluff.

The idea of a reading bee was conceived by the literacy committee of the Bluefield Chamber of Commerce in the hope of promoting reading. The namesake of the event, Tom Colley, chaired the committee and as well as worked as the the executive editor of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. Several chamber members and the school system have continued the tradition thoughout the years.

Every student who took part was given a book and a certificate.

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