Four grade seven pupils Alexandra Breckenridge, Matthew Robbins, Emily Spencer and Sarah Herrington represented South Africa in the event, competiting against teams from the UK, US, Canada and New Zealand. The annual event assesses the literary knowledge of young boys and girls aging between 10 and 13.
The quiz was founded in 1991 by Wayne Mills, a New Zealand quizmaster and senior lecturer at the University of Auckland, with the goal to inspire young children to read significantly more and look at the activity as a form of sport. Mills longed-for good readers to end up being recognized for their achievements and also celebrated by their schools, in the same way sporty youngsters are.
During the last 20 years the event has developed into a popular annual occasion among youngsters in the various participating countries, with hundreds of teams competing for an opportunity to represent their country in the final. Some 400 teams from the UK alone took part in the regional finals.
Manor Gardens Primary School beat 150 teams coming from schools all around South Africa in their regional finals held in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. At the regional finals, teams have to get through 10 rounds of 10 questions. The questions cover a wide range of subjects in children’s books, this includes weapons in literature and witches.
Bookstore Exclusive Books sponsored the local competition in South Africa, giving away cash prizes and book vouchers to every winning team.
The school victory has made Manor Gardens principal Carol Lottering, teachers, pupils and parents very proud of the winning team. “They have demostrated that there is some good with our education. You frequently hear unfavorable aspects of education in this country, but here is a public school that has competed internationally and won.”
Competition organisers Kids Lit Quiz congratulated the young South Africans for their fantastic win. “The South African team from Manor Gardens in Durban was comprehensively strong in all the categories and triumphed in this year’s final emphatically,” it said in a statement.
The Durban school team triumphed in the contest with 51 points – 16 points clear of runners up Summit Heights Public School from Canada, foolowed in third place with 35; and last year’s winners Cockermouth School from the UK, with 27 points.
Lottering stated that the team which gave a hand to prepare the pupils for the competition along with the school’s media centre teacher, Isobel Sobey, played a major role in their success.
“It was a combined effort and hard work by the teachers and parents, who worked alongside one another to support the children. The teachers emphasise the value of reading in the same manner the parents do at home.”
The school’s Facebook page continues to be flooded with congratulatory messages ever since news broke of their victory. South Africa’s Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga was one of the many who posted celebratory messages on the page. “You make the country proud,” she wrote.
The school has also written a message on Facebook on behalf of the team saying thanks to all their followers for the supporting words.
“We are genuinely overwhelmed with the support and the fantastic messages. Alex, Emily, Matthew and Sarah are completely over joyed with the response and give thanks to their school friends, teachers and everyone who has followed the team on this memorable journey.”