Students master words, analogies

Sixth-grader Cayla Courteau and fifth-grader Frances Buturian-Larson finished in the top percents of their classes in the national WordMasters analogy competition.

Two Milaca Elementary School students have found themselves in an elite national group of learners after excelling in the WordMasters competition this year.

Sixth-grader Cayla Courteau and fifth-grader Frances Buturian-Larson competed with more than 67,000 of their peers from around the country in three analogy solving contests that took place in November, February and April.

Accelerated Learner Program teacher Valerie Anderson said the competition was stiff, but her students were up to the challenge. Courtier place in the top 2 percent of the more than 30,000 sixth-grade students who participated. Buturian-Larson placed in the top 10 percent of the nearly 40,000 students in her grade level.

“We practiced all the vocabulary that we had to use and then we had to finish the analogy,” Buturian-Larson said. “Some were really hard.”

It may not be shocking, but English is her favorite class.

“This year I have Mr. Follmuth, and he’s my favorite,” she said.

The fifth-grader also discovered her new favorite word through the competition — pernicious.

“I really like to read, so that helps,” she said. “And I want to be a journalist when I grow up.”

When she found out how well she did in the WordMasters competition, Buturian-Larson was excited.

“I was really surprised,” she said. “[My parents] were really proud of me. My neighbor, my sister’s friend — she got the same score as me and she’s in seventh grade.”

Courteau said some of the analogies were really hard, but others were rather easy. Her new favorite word she discovered in the competition is err.

“I like studying the words and playing the games,” she said.

Courteau also enjoys reading books like the Hunger Games and other science fiction, as well as realistic fiction that contains over the top drama.

“I like how stuff happens that wouldn’t happen in real life,” she said.

Neither student knew they would be awarded with a medal when Anderson presented them with the prize. But from their smiles, it was clear the kudos made all their hard work pay off.