Northfield Elementary student earns academic accolades

April Helms
Kent Weeklies
Ender Johnson participated in the Midwest Champions League Qualifier at Adrenaline Monkey near Cleveland.
He placed eighth overall and fourth for boys. He also participated on a relay team, which placed third. Ender, a third-grader at Northfield Elementary School, also earned a perfect score in WordMasters, and was named team leader in a math competition.

NORTHFIELD CENTER – A Northfield Elementary School third-grader not only recently earned a perfect score in this year’s WordMasters™ challenge, but also received the Team Leader award for the Noetic Math Challenge.

 Ender Johnson scored a perfect 20 in the Gold Division for the first round of WordMasters, according to Kristina Schroeder, the enrichment teacher for third and fourth grades and the coach for the competition. WordMasters Challenge™ is a national vocabulary competition involving nearly 125,000 students annually. Participating students are given a list of 25 vocabulary words to learn over the course of several weeks. The challenge given requires the students to use those words to complete analogies expressing various kinds of logical relationships. The competition is given at two levels, the Blue level, which is at grade level, and the more advanced Gold level.

One example given for the Grade 3 Gold division at is mute-talk, then idle, with the multiple choice options being loaf, bay, toil, dread and whisper. The correct answer, incidentally, is “toil.”

Nationally, only 28 third graders achieve a perfect score, Schroeder said.

Schroeder said that students complete 20 problems and must do so within 20 minutes.

The first round of words were distributed Oct. 1, and the tests were made available Nov. 6.

“It’s something we do every other year,” said Schroeder.

The vocabulary words for round two were recently given out, Schroeder said. The students will practice for about five weeks and take the second challenge in mid-February. The final round of vocabulary words will be given out in March, with the challenge in May.

“Some have the same meanings as those in round one,” Ender said of the second round of vocabulary words. He added he had never participated in a competition such as WordMasters before. “They would tell us the difference between this word and that word. It was a fun thing.”

Schroeder said that students across the Nordonia Hills school district participated, with five third-graders and 21 fourth-graders taking part in the competition. They practiced by playing word games such as Headbands.

Ender said he received a WordMasters cinch sack and a certificate for his accomplishment.

In addition to his WordMasters accomplishment, Ender also participated in the national Noetic Learning Math Contest in November. In this competition, students are given 45 minutes to solve 20 problems. Alice Bender, Ender’s math enrichment teacher, said that Ender was named the team winner for third grade. He received a medal from Noedic as well as a ribbon.

“Ender is very motivated,” Bender said. “The fact that he scores high is because he has a good work ethic. I think that helps him in his success.” She added that the Noedic challenge was not multiple question and included problem solving.

Katherine Johnson, Ender’s mother, said that he “has loved math since he was very little.”

As if that wasn’t enough to occupy Ender, he also participated in the Midwest Champions League Qualifier at Adrenaline Monkey near Cleveland. Katherine Johnson said he competed in 9U and placed eighth overall and fourth for boys.

“He joined a relay team and they finished third,” she said.

The competition was an obstacle course inspired by American Ninja Warrier, the NBC television show, Katherine Johnson said.

When asked about his future aspirations, Ender said he wanted “to try space.” His mother said that he wants to work for NASA.

Reporter April Helms can be reached at