Q&A, Hornet pride still strong after surprise defeat
Maj. Deanna Bague
Fort Bliss Public Affairs
Henderson Middle School eighth-graders held their heads high as they congratulated their opponents after a challenging social studies question-and-answer match Thursday.
“We learned our lesson,” said Miguel Alvarez, a competing student.
Miguel said he and the other competing students were over-confident coming into the competition because they thought their opponents, who are Fort Bliss Soldiers, would be distracted by job-related duties, making it difficult for them to focus on the data everyone had studied in preparation for the competition.
“I figured since they had been out of school for a long time, and since we were still in school, [the information] would be fresh in our minds,” said Norma Gallegos, who also competed.
Norma and Miguel said losing to the Soldiers by one question was disappointing, but serves as a valuable lesson that will help them be fully prepared for the final competition scheduled for May 13, and more importantly for the upcoming Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test.
Winning was neither a priority nor an objective for the Soldiers, said Pfc. Jacob Pence, assigned to B Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. The goal of the Soldiers, said Pence, was to motivate the students and challenge them to work harder.
“If we’re not making it competitive for them, then they’re probably not going to get as much out of it,” said Pence. “They were a little shy when they were being introduced to us. As the game started they opened up and they got excited about playing the game, and the competitive nature started to come out. It was fun watching them get competitive about it.”
Another benefit of the competition is that students may be able to retrieve the facts they studied in preparation for the match and apply them to the TAKS test, a mandatory state exam that students in third through eighth and tenth grade are required to pass. All eighth-grade students take the social studies portion in addition to the math, reading and science sections.
Pfc. Richard Palmer, assigned to A Co., Warrior Transition Bn., said Henderson was the third school he and his team had competed against since the start of the two-week competition. He said he was surprised with the level of complexity of some of the questions.
“I’m very impressed with [the students’] knowledge,” said Palmer. “When I was asked at first to participate, I was thinking it’s not going to be that hard – maybe [a] five-to-10 page study guide – and here I get handed 43 pages worth of information.”
Norma said she believes students at her school are going to do well on the TAKS test.
“I want to thank all the Soldiers for coming,” said Norma. “This was a fun experience for all of us and we hope they enjoyed it too.”