Big Island students compete in 26th annual Newbery Quiz Bowl

Eighteen teams of young, Big Island book enthusiasts gathered at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel ballroom Thursday morning for the 26th annual Newbery Quiz Bowl.

The event attracted an audience of parents, teachers, librarians and reading advocates alike and started at about 9 a.m., lasting into the afternoon.

The teams ranged in age from fourth- to seventh-graders, who started the day relatively quiet, whispering answers back and forth. But as the final hour approached, chatter escalated and many youngsters were sitting on the edge of their seats.

The winners were announced following a tie-breaker and after a few hours of questions.

Hawaii Classical Christian Academy took first place, Hilo Public Library took second place, Lighthouse HICHE took third place, Kealakehe Elementary took fourth place and Konawaena Elementary took fifth place overall.

Throughout the day, the bright young minds were quizzed on questions coming from various Newbery Medal award winning books.

David Griff, a librarian at Hawaii Preparatory Academy lower school, said he was pleased to see so many students participate.

“It’s really amazing to see the excitement of the students, like you see right now,” he said pointing toward a group of children running.

Jahnea Ordona, a fourth-grader at Kealakehe Elementary, said she was nervous at first, but once she heard the team won she yelled in excitement.

The Newbery Quiz Bowl on the Big Island is the only one in the state. It was started by Julia Tao, former librarian of Kalanianaole Elementary and Intermediate School. Master of ceremonies this year was retired librarian Paula Kamiya.

She said students read and study certain Newbery Medal books all year and then are selected to compete in the bowl. The competition consists of multiple questions on content, theme, setting, author or book title.

Kamiya said the competition has certainly grown during the years — from nine to 10 teams to 18 this year. “It’s definitely gotten bigger,” she said.

The event is volunteer-based and winners receive various prizes donated from several Big Island businesses.

According to the Association for Library Service to Children, the Newbery Medal was named after 18th century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the ALSC, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

The oldest book tested was a 1922 book titled “Story of Mankind,” by Hendrik Willem van Loon. It was the first book to be awarded the Newbery Medal.

This year’s Newbery Medal winner went to the book “The Crossover,” written by Kwame Alexander.

Schools representing West Hawaii included Hawaii Preparatory Academy lower school, Hawaii Preparatory Academy middle school, Holualoa, Kahakai, Kealakehe Elementary, Kealakehe Intermediate, Kohala Elementary, Konawaena Elementary and Waikoloa schools.

Supporters for the 26th Annual Newbery Quiz Bowl include:

  • Ace Hardware/Arts & Crafts Kamuela
  • Atlantis Submarines
  • Big Island Candies
  • Big Island Educators & Retirees
  • Body Glove Cruises
  • Cafe 100
  • Fair Wind
  • Friends of the Library Waikoloa
  • Aunty Lorna Saito
  • Kamehameha Schools
  • KBXtreme Sports
  • KTA Super Stores
  • McDonald’s of Puainako
  • Ocean Sports
  • Pohakuloa Training Area
  • Safeway Food & Drug
  • TD Food Group Pizza Hut & Taco Bell
  • Walmart


  1. FL-WR: Ethaniel Wilson, Kai Brown, Ardena Brown, Kaleah McHone, Jack Castro
  2. HCCA: Brandy Hill, Jessica Cogan, Zane Bader, Kyla Jones, Keo Aughe
  3. HPA Elem.: Krysti Chen, Lily Kassis, Bianca Brown, Parker Smith, Sydney Chin
  4. HPA Middle: Racquel McMackin, Jared Barrett, Sara Kimura, Kai Selman, Ana Henderson
  5. Hilo Public Library: Elliot Russell, Phoebe Wyatt, Keiko Wolfson, Sachi Bower, Abel Bluitt
  6. Hilo Union: Kiana Blue, Sarah Gauthier, Chansen McAllister, Gabrielle Viernes
  7. Holualoa: Chase Lurbiecki, Sita Hale, Minami Asbjornson, Cameran Vierthaler, Wehiwa Donager
  8. Kahakai: Caiya Hanks, Emma Akana, Cristina Lindenburg, Gabrielle Lindenburg, Aiden Schutte
  9. Kamehameha: Ka’ena Cordeiro, Kamakana Rodrigues, Zayden Hora, Joanne Farias
  10. Kaumana: Mikailee Palmerston, Keona Matsui, Jera Hook-DeSilva, Kaia Broomell, Grace Wyman
  11. Kealakehe Elem.:Alexandra Ruff, Tye Gray-Galligo, Alexis Wana, Jahnea Ordona
  12. Kealakehe Intermediate: Vyas Hale, Gabriella Nakamaru, Sedona Harris, Jun Lee, Machi Limas
  13. Kohala Elem.: Hailey Carvalho, Chyler Derla, David Jimenez, Joshua Quinn, Skyla Van ZanZandt
  14. Konawaena Elem.: Sophia Burgess, Kamaehu Makanui, Kianna Lim, Staci Nakamoto, Payton Kim
  15. Lighthouse HICHE: Ethan Rapoza, Charis Cook, Zachary Rapoza, Cash Anderson, Kawahena Miller
  16. St. Joseph: Forest McKinney, Keyna Wilcox, Isabelle Au, Rylee Au, Hoku Brown
  17. Waiakea Inter.: Alysa Yabe, Anavah Endriss, Lela DeVine
  18. Waikoloa: Andrew Kenney, Jona Turagavou, Jacob Turagavou, Lucas Koranda, Buddy Beeder

From West Hawaii Today

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