DeKalb Girl Wins Wrestling Reading Challenge

Northeast Alabama
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Professional wrestling and literature do not seem like they go together.

However, they became tag team partners in an international reading contest, won by a DeKalb County girl.

A wrestling-related poster at the Rainsville Library drew the attention of seventh grader Nicole Jones from Mentone.

It was for the Wrestlemania Reading World Challenge.

"It caught my eye because I saw the Rock and John Cena on it," she said.
"I saw that it was a reading challenge and I love to read and I love wrestling so I knew I had to take the challenge."

It required her to read five books as part of Teen Read Week, and write a letter to a WWE Superstar, convincing the professional wrestler to read her favorite book.

She told John Morrison why he should read books by her favorite author, Terri Blackstock.

WWE and the Young Adult Library Services Association chose Nicole as one of seven 7th-8th grade finalists.

They provided free airfare to Miami, lodging at a hotel, and tickets to Wrestlemania XXVIII.

She and the other finalists went to a private party with Kelly Kelly and WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley before participating in the Wrestlemania Reading Challenge World Finals.

The finalists were instructed to read "After Tupac and D Foster", by Jacqueline Woodson, and were quizzed in a competition judged by Dolph Ziggler, Rey Mysterio, Alicia Fox, and Hornswoggle.

"They asked 20 questions on the book, kind of like a game show format," she said.

"We had to hit the buzzer and I got 12 of the 20 questions."

That earned an upgrade to ringside seats at Wrestlemania.

"My favorite was probably John Cena and the Rock, but I was disappointed that John Cena didn't win."

She was interviewed by a WWE reporter and highlighted on camera during the event.

In addition to her prizes, she also won $2,000 for the Rainsville Library.

"We have expanded our young adult section.  We're up probably 200 items now, just from that money," library director Sarah Cruze said.

The librarian was happy to offer the contest, and supports any events that encourage reading.

Nicole agreed.
"I thought it was great that YALSA and WWE worked together to make a way for kids to get to go to Wrestlemania just by reading," she said.

Over 2,000 libraries across the United States and Canada participated in the reading challenge, which is in its seventh year.

Nicole and her older brother hope to win again next year.

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