After last year’s Tome Society Reading Competition was cut short because of the pandemic, Alexander High freshmen Cynthia Ramirez and Maggie Padgett were declared the state winners.
The pair were leading the competition before it was abruptly stopped when schools were ordered to close.
Padgett said some of her friends at rival schools questioned if they were really the winners.
“I got some flack from other people,” Padgett said.
This year, there is no questioning the sophomores’ reading prowess as they won the state competition for a second straight year.
“This really solidified what we did last year,” Padgett said.
Because of the pandemic, the competition was digital and the two Alexander students led throughout the competition, which consisted of being tested on seven of the 20 books they were required to read.
It was fill-in-the-blank type of test.
“They were going up against some really seasoned teams that had won in the past,” said Alexander media specialist Kim Boehman, who serves as coach of the team. “I think they rose to the occasion each time and did a great job.”
Repeating as champions was something special for the sophomores as they took on teams that were comprised of upperclassmen.
“I’ve already started preparing for next year,” Ramirez said.
The pressure is on as media specialist Valli Robinson has issued them a challenge, according to Ramirez.
“Mrs. Robinson declared that we are going to win it all four years,” Padgett said.
The two competitors were on the Zoom call with Boehman when the winners were announced.
“Mrs. Boehman heard our names called first and started jumping up and down,” Padgett said. “We asked her did we win. It was crazy. We all starting jumping up and down in her office.”
The competition is something the students look forward to.
Padgett has been involved in the Tome Society Reading competition off and on since she was a third-grade elementary school student at Holly Springs.
She later competed at Chapel Hill Middle School before joining the Alexander team.
“There was some pressure we put on ourselves after winning it last year,” Padgett said.
Ramirez got involved with the Tome Society when she entered high school a year ago.
She said she has always had a passion for reading, and that motivated her to join the competition.
“I love books,” Ramirez said. “When I get out of college I want to either teach or be a media specialist. I want to do something that will keep me into the books.”
Padgett’s future plans call for majoring in business, but her ultimate goal is to be an international flight attendant.
“I love traveling,” she said. “I want to see the world.”
Boehman gives Ramirez and Padgett all the credit for winning the competition.
“These girls are so self-motivated,” she said. “I won’t call myself the coach, but the sponsor. I’m the adult in the room. They take care of just about everything including writing their own questions. I’m really proud of them.”