Kids Take on Satyrs, Gorgons
By Joshua Clark
Hampton Union, Tuesday, February 17, 2009
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
Sixth-graders at the Hampton Academy, including, from left, Henri Coleman and Daniel Katalichenko, watch as Hunter MacKenzie answers the winning question for the Percy Jackson Mythology Bee held at the Lane Library in Hampton on Thursday.
HAMPTON -- Those not familiar with satyrs, centaurs or Gorgons may have felt a bit out of place at the Percy Jackson Mythology Bee, but for the young mythology buffs who took place in the contest it was familiar territory.
The contest, held at Lane Memorial Library on Feb. 12, was open to students ages 10-15. The eight contestants who participated were faced with a barrage of multiple-choice questions focusing on Greek and Roman mythology.
Designed to celebrate students' knowledge of the subject, the bee capitalizes on the success of the Percy Jackson & The Olympians book series. Authored by Rick Riordan, the series follows the adventures of 12 year-old Percy who discovers that not only is he the son of Poseidon, god of the Sea, but that Greek monsters and mythological figures still roam the Earth.
Sixth-grader Hunter McKenzie, 11, ended the day standing alone atop Mount Olympus as the first-place winner. As the winner from Hampton Academy, Hunter will be entered into a sweepstakes with a chance to win the grand prize of a trip for four to Greece, which will include a tour of ancient ruins with Riordan.
Hunter, who first became enthralled by the series when he was ten, said that he was fascinated by mythology, and had done many projects and written stories on the subject.
After he took first place, he said he was feeling both amazing and lucky. On the prospect of meeting Riordan and getting to travel to Greece, he said it would be "a dream come true."
Even if he is not chosen for the grand prize, Hunter may end up winning a chance to Austin, Texas, to attend Camp Half-Blood. In the novels, the camp is a secret training ground and camp for those who are descendents of the mythological gods.
The camp was started in 2006 as a way to keep children interested in reading by bringing elements of the books to life.
Runner-up and fellow sixth-grader Daniel Katalichenko, 11, reiterated Hunter's love of fantasy and myth and said that he had also started reading the books about a year ago.
Daniel did not leave empty handed, however, as he got to take home The Battle of the Labyrinth, the only book in the series he did not own.
Kirsten Rundquist Corbett, the teen librarian at the library, said the contest allowed her to branch out to the home-schooled and high school students she encounters in the library.
Stef Metalious, a librarian at Hampton Academy, said those who entered the contest were excited to compete and enthusiastic about the subject matter.
She went on to say that if the bee was offered next year, she would hold it again.