After two three-way ties, the eighth annual Battle of the Bluebonnets has two champions this year — Cavazos Elementary School and Hays STEAM Academy.

STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math. The three-way tie was between Cavazos, Hays and Zavala elementary schools. There were two tie-breakers to arrive at the co-champions. In the second tie-breaker, the response time was cut from 30 to 15 seconds.

Held at the ICA Community Gym at the Odessa College Sports Center, Battle of the Bluebonnets featured 25 elementary campuses competing against each other in a quiz show to test their knowledge of Bluebonnet Award-winning books.

Campuses had their own battles to determine what teams would compete in the battle. About 150 students in grades three through five competed Friday.

Education Foundation Executive Director Celeste Potter said there was a three-way tie once before and every other year it’s just been one team that’s won.

“I’m proud of them and it’s exciting, too, because it’s three new schools that were in the top that went to the tie-break round that had never been to the tie-break round before, so I’m really proud of them. They worked really hard,” Potter said.

The winning campuses will receive a gift bag from the Education Foundation with an assortment of books and other prizes, plus bragging rights for a year, Potter said.

“It’s fantastic, man,” Cavazos Elementary School Principal Brandon Chesser said. “They did an awesome job. They worked really hard. … We’re super-proud of them. They represented Cavazos well. … I’m so happy for them.”

The students also were excited about their win.

Darianna Pando, a 10-year-old fifth-grader at Hays, said it was cool that they got to compete and beat the other schools. She added that she was “really nervous” about the ties.

Hays Library Media Specialist Janie Steele didn’t said the students’ accomplishment was extremely important because it’s goal-setting and achieving a goal.

“And plus in the process it’s building their reading vocabulary and reading comprehension. If you read all the Bluebonnet books, you’re reading well into a million words, so … reading those books definitely prepares them to be successful students in the future,” Steele said.

She added that she was excited about Hays being a co-champion.

“We practiced this week and we prepared. I was only going to practice with them three days and they said, ‘No, no. Can we please practice one more day?’ They worked hard. They worked very, hard and they did all the work. They’re very exceptional young people. I’m blessed to work with them,” Steele said.

Potter said the Battle of the Bluebonnets is funded through donations. If anyone is interested in supporting the program, they may contact her at 432-456-7059 or

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