The accomplishments of Lucas Schmied and Vivian Chute in the WordMasters Challenge can be summed up in an analogy.
Lucas and Vivan : their results in a WordMasters Challenge meet :: a student earning the best possible score : perfection.
One colon means is to, and two colons means as.
The students both received a perfect score on one of the three meets held as part of the 2017-18 WordMasters Challenge.
Vivian and Lucas both answered all 20 questions correctly; Vivian in the second meet in Feburary and Lucas on the third meet in April.
Vivian was one of only 31 sixth-graders nationwide who earned a perfect score.
Lucas was among 65 fifth-graders to accomplish the feat.
About 150,000 students in grades three through eight participate in the national vocabulary competition each year.
Edison Intermediate/Larson Middle School offers students the opportunity to participate in WordMasters as one available option in its Extended Learning Classes program. Students participating in the program meet regularly with the school's gifted intervention specialist.
"You can do things related to math or science," Lucas said. "I chose to be part of WordMasters because I like words. It's the sound of words that attract more than their meaning.
"There are some words that kind of click with me, words like onomatopoeia and oxymoron. They're just fun to say," he said.
In WordMasters, students become familiar with words that are more difficult than usual for their grade level. They are then challenge to use those words to complete analogies expressing logical relationships.
The WordMasters website lists several sample questions similar to what students are asked in a challenge.
One example is Ostentatious : swagger :: furtive: a. stampede; b. skip; c. fall; d. skulk; e. strut.
"It's challenging because you start to question the choice you're making," Lucas said.
The WordMasters Challenge are like a multiple choice test, Vivian said.
"I think they make it difficult on purpose. They'll have two answers that each sound like they could be right," she said. "You complete the test, then you start worrying about the answers you gave."
Vivian and Lucas participated in the WordMasters' Gold Division, which is for students with superior language skills. A Blue Division is for students of average to above-average reading and reasoning abilities.
Each meet lasts 20 minutes.
Both Vivian and Lucas said they were surprised when they learned they had earned perfect scores.
"I only got 12 out of 20 right on the first test, so I was pleasantly surprised," Vivian said. "I think it helped knowing more of what kind of questions they would ask. Also, I studied a little bit harder for the second test."
"It felt really good to find out I got a perfect score, but in a way I almost felt like I didn't really deserve it," Lucas said. "Next year I'm going to try to be more consistent with my scores so I know that I really understand analogies."
Lucas said he likes to read, especially realistic fiction and fantasy books, but likes building things rather than constructing analogies.
"I like building anything, like I love to build things out of cardboard," he said. "I love making tables with my Dad or wood staining a table with him."
Both father and son like completing crosswords, "but my Dad is really amazing at crosswords puzzles."
Last spring, Vivian qualified for the state geography bee.
"I don't really have a favorite, like geography over language arts," she said. "I really like all subjects at school. They're all interesting."