Determination Wins Prize for Visiting Student

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This is the face of determination. This is Jayden Brock, nephew of local realtor and Main Street merchant, Heather Purnell. Jayden is visiting from Florida over the summer. He came upon the Puzzle Spot inside A Touch of Grace at the August Music on Main and decided to try one out.

Families teamed up to solve puzzles, individuals worked while their friends gave pointers, and small children found joy in seeing the pieces come together to make a bigger picture.

Families teamed up to solve puzzles, individuals worked while their friends gave pointers, and small children found joy in seeing the pieces come together to make a bigger picture.

When Jayden heard the holder of the record had offered a cash prize challenge of $20.00 to the person who could beat the best time on the True Places puzzle, he decided to give it a try. There are five different puzzles, each with a photo of a book cover from an author who has visited Sparta over the past year. NAPCO, a specialty packaging company based in Sparta, created the puzzles and donated them for use at the summer’s Music on Main events. The Puzzle Spot is manned by members of the Alleghany Writers non-profit.

Jayden timed out at twelve minutes on his first try at the puzzle.  The record to beat was under five minutes. He tried again and got down to ten minutes. As the crowd grew, Jayden backed away to give others a chance at the prize. That’s how the night went. All puzzles were busy through the evening and a few players even wanted to establish a “time to beat” on a certain puzzle, hoping the time would hold and they would be in line for a cash prize challenge.

Jayden returned later in the evening. He gave the puzzle four more tries, whittling his best time from twelve minutes to just nine seconds over the five-minute winning time. He gave me a contact number and I promised to email Sonja Yoerg, the best time record holder, to tell of Jayden’s tenacious efforts to break her record.

Sonja Yoerg sets her best time record at the July 6th Writers on Main.

Sonja Yoerg sets her best time record at the July 6th Writers on Main.

Sonja is the author of the novel, True Places, and a big puzzle fan. She established the “under five minute” record on her book cover puzzle when she visited Sparta in July.

When I emailed Sonja and told her about Jayden and his fierce determination to beat her time, she instructed me to award half of the prize money to Jayden. His determination deserved a reward.

On Saturday afternoon Jayden showed up for the Writers on Main book talk. He got the news about Sonja’s instructions and was excited to receive the $10 prize money. He said it made his summer visit to Sparta really something to remember!

Jaden Brock with Ginger Collins, president, Alleghany Writers.

Jaden Brock with Ginger Collins, president, Alleghany Writers.