Just how deafening was the sustained din in Main Street School's auditorium Friday afternoon?
It was as though the most die hard fans of the Browns, Cavaliers and Indians had packed the place to salute the teams, who had just become champions all in the same year.
The blaring music in the room was no match for the screams, chants and cheers of high-octane fifth-and sixth-graders ready for battle.
You could not hear yourself think.
These youngsters will have to do a lot of quick thinking in April, when they take the state achievement tests.
The examinations were the very reasons they were bellowing and waving signs while decked out in black and green paint, cone-shaped hats and masks.
The 2008 version of Main Street Survivor kicked off Friday with a relay event and spirit contest as the countdown began to the April achievement tests.
Main Street Survivor, now in its third year, combines relay-like challenges with test-preparation exercises as a fun way for students to prepare for the tests. Students are divided into teams, each of which can win various prizes for triumphing in different challenges.
It has proved an effective way to prepare for the tests as well.
Consider: In 2005, Main Street School was placed in the "academic watch" category, one of the designations the state uses to evaluate schools' effectiveness. Main Street principal Kirk Pavelich implemented Survivor in the spring of 2006. In 2006, the state deemed Main Street an "effective" school, a rating it achieved again in 2007. The highest possible rating is "excellent."
"We were probably within two students of passing all the sections last year," Pavelich said.
State education officials determine the ratings through a number of factors, including test scores. In 2005, Main Street School's test performance index was 79.7 percent. It climbed to 93.5 percent in 2006 and 96.3 percent in 2007.
Fifth grader Sydney Friend, who passed the test last year, credited Main Street Survivor for her success.
"It helped me focus more," she said. "It's a fun and exciting way to get ready for the test."
Sixth grader Larry Case said Main Street Survivor helped him perform better on last year's test.
"It can motivate you to have fun while you're learning," he said.
Sydney is a member of the sixth grade Frogs team, while Larry is a member of the sixth-grade Navigators.
Why are the Frogs the best team?
"Because we have spirit," Sydney said.
Larry said his team is best because the Navigators are determined, motivated and want to win.
In reality, though, Pavelich told the students there are no losers.
"You're pushing each other to compete," he said.
By competing in fast-paced, pressure-filled relay events, they will be able to better handle the pressure of the test, Pavelich said.
The principal said Main Street Survivor has exceeded his expectations.
"I thought the kids would like it, but I never dreamed it would be as popular and successful," he said. "If we get them to buy into (the importance of the achievement tests), we'll continue to do this kind of crazy stuff."