June 3, 2020

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Eighth-grader George Moussa one of only 66 in the U.S. to achieve perfect score in vocabulary competition; other NDMS students score high.

George Moussa will be a freshman at Notre Dame Prep in the fall.

A student representing Notre Dame Middle School recently received a perfect score in the last of three meets in this year’s WordMasters Challenge, a national vocabulary competition involving nearly 125,000 students annually. 
Competing in the difficult blue division of the Challenge, Notre Dame eighth-grader George Moussa earned a perfect score of 20. Nationally, only 66 eighth graders achieved this result. Other students from Notre Dame who achieved outstanding results in this year's meet included sixth-grader Sami Khouri, seventh-graders Sid Mohindra, Erin Surmann and Audrey Thummel, and eighth-graders Alaina Polsinelli, Beck Silver and Jose Turrubiartes. 

The NDMS students were coached in preparation for the WordMasters Challenge by Kelly Simon, a seventh grade reading and eighth grade language and literature teacher in the middle school, who said that the middle school has been competing for more than 10 years in the annual competition. 

"George joins other perfect score recipients from the middle school in recent years, including Ava Wernis and Sam Phillips, who achieved their perfect scores during the last school year," Simon said. "George is a phenomenal student and will academically shine at NDP, just as he did at the middle school. He really wanted the perfect score and when he finally got it, it was a great moment to share with him. I think this accomplishment is just the beginning for this student!"

The WordMasters Challenge is an exercise in critical thinking that first encourages students to become familiar with a set of interesting new words (considerably harder than grade level), and then challenges them to use those words to complete analogies expressing various kinds of logical relationships. Working to solve the analogies helps students learn to think both analytically and metaphorically. 

Although most vocabulary enrichment and analogy-solving programs are designed for use by high school students, WordMasters materials have been specifically created for younger students in grades three through eight. They are particularly well suited for children who are motivated by the challenge of learning new words and enjoy the logical puzzles posed by analogies.

Simon added she and other teachers at Notre Dame always try to bring words to life for the students. 

"We believe it's important that they find connection and complete understanding of the whole word, from the etymology to its use in their daily lives," she said. "Plus, if we can connect the words to other classes and learning that the students have experienced, the more likely they'll understand them. The skills that our kids cultivate through this study and practice allows them to take WordMasters' 75 words and turn them into 3,000-plus in any given year."

More on WordMasters:
The WordMasters Challenge™ program is administered by a company based in New Jersey, which is dedicated to inspiring high achievement in American schools. Further information is available at the company’s website.

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

Comments or questions? mkelly@ndpma.org

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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame Preparatory School enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three school are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school’s home page at www.ndpma.org.

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