Fifth-grade Bellefonte student named one of 10 finalists in national reading, history contest

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BELLEFONTE, Pa. (WTAJ) — “I mean he’s a huge reader, he’s always been a veracious reader, we literally can’t keep books out of his hands, or off his floor.”

Fifth-grader Brady Wynkoop of Marion-Walker Elementary School in Bellefonte loves to read, and recently, he turned that passion into an opportunity of a lifetime.

It started with a trip to the book store last fall.

“Me and my mom were shopping for books at Barnes & Noble, and we were in the kids section and there was a poster that said there was going to be a Who Is/Who Was history contest, and you could sign up your school for it,” Brady said.

It was an idea Brady took to his school’s librarian, where between 170 and 180 books “Who Is/Who Was books were used for the contest. The competition was held for grades 3 thru 5, and students answered question from any one of the books.

The competiton was held in each classroom, then two winners from each classroom competed against each other to see who would be the school’s winner, and Brady was the winner.

“The {publishing} company in turn sent an exam, it had to be a proctored exam, obviously for security reasons to make sure he wasn’t using any other resources, but basically he took an exam that consisted of multiple choice questions, short answer questions, and an essay,” said Jacqueline Wynkoop, mother of Brady and a teacher in the Bellefonte Area School District.

Students from across the United States also took that same exam, judged by a panel of authors and people from the publishing company. Out of 25,000 kids, Brady finished in the top 10, with an opportunity to win a $10,000 scholarship and a school library of books.

“Our librarian called and said that she wanted to talk to me, and I said, ‘Okay…is it something about the Who Is competition?’ and then she told me and I was like really shocked, like I could not believe it,” Brady explained.

The pandemic has caused the cancellation of the final competition, which was scheduled for May in New York. It is expected to be rescheduled for sometime in the fall.

Jacqueline says she is proud of Brady for his accomplishment, and is eagerness to learn and read.

“He just reads, and we always say the more you read the more you know, that his how he picks up his information and it’s stuff that I don’t know, he would have beat me in the competition, I’m a history lover and I love to read but he just soaks it up,” Jacqueline added.

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