Hilliard Northwest News

Memorial Middle School

Centa wins Citizenship Bee with 'Common Sense'

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Eighth-grader Nick Centa (center) won first place in this year's Hilliard Memorial Middle School Citizenship Bee on April 11. Eighth-graders Nimo Ismail (right) and Michael Parthun finished second and third, respectively.

Eighth-grader Nick Centa won a $100 Target gift card with the knowledge that Thomas Paine authored the pro-Revolutionary War pamphlet, Common Sense.

Centa was among the seventh- and eighth-grade students at Hilliard Memorial Middle School who participated April 11 in the 15th annual Citizenship Bee.

"I'm excited to win," Centa said.

He said he had not decided how he would spend his windfall.

In order to qualify for the competition, students were required to score at least a 42 on a 50-point scale. This year, 30 students met the mark, including 27 eighth-graders.

The contest evolved from an event the social studies teachers at Memorial Middle School established15 years ago as a means to prepare students for a standardized test the Ohio Department of Education no longer administers.

In the competition, students are each asked one question and have 30 seconds to answer. Students can miss one question and remain in the game, but they are eliminated upon a second incorrect answer.

First-round questions were considered simpler. An example of such a question asked was to name the official title of the national anthem of the United States.

Once only eight students remained, a second round began, formatted in the style of the TV game show, Jeopardy!

The set of eight students were asked the same question and wrote responses until only one remained.

Mark VanKirk read the questions to students during the two-hour contest.

"There is a good cross-sampling of questions that are drawn from material covered in class and that will help students with (future) testing," said Tom Rhoden, a seventh-grade social studies teacher at Memorial Middle School.

Nimo Ismail finished in second place and Michael Parthun finished in third place. Both are eighth-grade students.

Neither, including Centa, competed last year.

Ismail won a $75 gift card from Target. Parthun won a $50 gift card. All other participating students received a $5 gift card from Target.