Battle of the Books starts

London Shannon-Muscolino, Freelance writer

When Alayna Baqai ‘24 transferred to LT from Keller High School in Keller, Texas, she was shocked to find that LT did not have a Battle of the Books team, she said. So, she decided to start one at LT. 

“I was very surprised they didn’t have a team,” Baqai said. “I don’t know what I expected, but [academic] wise, LT is so well known, so I figured they would have a team.”

Baqai was on a Battle of the Books team in middle school and freshman year at her previous school. She made some of her best friends at Battle of the Books, Baqai said.  

“It’s a nice place to hang out with people who share the same interests as you and meet fellow book nerds, ” Baqai said. “ I thought I would make a Battle of the Books club at LT, since they didn’t have a club like that. So, I talked to Mr. Geddeis and we worked together to make the team.”

Battle of the Books is a book competition where there is a set list of books you and your team read. That team then goes to compete in a competition against other schools where you answer trivia questions about the books that you read, co-founder of LT’s Battle of the Books team Ashlin Kwong ‘24 said. 

“Alayna had the idea to create a Battle of the Books team at LT because she came from Texas, where they have a very strong Battle of the Books team, so she wanted to do it at LT since LT did not have a team,” Kwong said. “I saw her struggling with gaining momentum so I decided to help her get it up and running.”

The first step to creating the club was a proposal that answered basic questions such as funding and what the club is, Baqai said. Then it was all about marketing. Baqai talked to her friends and others in her classes about joining Battle of the Books to help the club gain momentum. The next step was finding a sponsor. Cheri Price, a librarian at NC, was the original sponsor. She agreed to be the sponsor long enough for the club to get approved, but then stepped down as the sponsor. The final step was meeting with Activities Director Peter Geddeis, who readily approved the club. Overall, it took a little over a month to get the club started. 

The new sponsor of the club is Kelly Murphy, a new librarian at LT. Murphy was asked to sit in on a meeting and talk with a small book club about a book on her second day at LT, much to her surprise. Ten kids showed up. Even though Murphy had not read the book, she researched a few quick facts online, and then agreed to facilitate the meeting, Murphy said. After the meeting, Baqai asked Murphy to be the sponsor of Battle of the Books, liking the way Murphy facilitated the book discussion.

“I was shocked when she asked me to be the sponsor, after all, it was only my second day at LT,” Murphy said. “At the time, I declined, wanting to first get a feel for my job before sponsoring a club.” 

When Price stepped down from running Battle of the Books, she asked Murphy to be the sponsor.

“I thought maybe this is meant to be, so I thought I’d give it a shot,” Murphy said. 

The first Battle of the Books meeting was on March 3. It was an informational meeting for students to hear what the club was about. Eleven people have shown interest in joining the club this far, Baqai said. 

The normal Battle of the Books season has already passed this year, so the club will be holding a small inter-school competition, instead of competing against other schools.

“This year, in a month or so, we will host a competition between students and teachers,” Kwong said. “We will only read a few books since we have limited time.”

The student and teacher teams will be reading “A Ballad of Songbirds” and “Snakes,” by Suzanne Collins, as well as “The Dark Matter” by Mona Starr