Meet the Spring 2016 Nutty Tilez Winners! (US)

by Holly Meehan
May 20, 2016

The winners have been announced, the prizes are in the mail, and the Spring 2016 Nutty Tilez competition is a wrap.  Thank you to everyone who participated!  We asked the teachers of our winners to conduct interviews with them, so that we can all learn their secrets to success.  Let’s see what they had to say!


1st place: Levi, Wilson Memorial High School, Virginia

This is Levi, our 1st place Spanish champion from Wilson Memorial High School in Virginia. He zipped through the levels of Nutty Tilez with unbelievable speed! His teacher, Yolanda Montague, has sent us this exclusive interview with the winner.

2nd Place: Avery, Campbell High School, Georgia


How did you prepare for the Nutty Tilez contest?

I prepared for the tournament in the days beforehand by practicing a lot more. I tried my best to pass more levels so that when I came to them in the final, I wouldn’t have spend as much time learning new vocabulary. I also prepared myself by telling all my friends about the awesome tournament – I got a lot of eye rolls, but I was so excited!

How did you feel when you started?

I felt really time pressured and sort of nervous, but thankfully the nervousness faded away after the first few levels.

How did you feel at the end?

Mentally exhausted.

Do you think the contest helped you with your languages?

Definitely. My vocabulary is a lot stronger which helps a lot whenever I’m writing, reading, or speaking Spanish.

What is your favourite thing on, aside from Nutty Tilez?

I really like the new structure section on It’s very useful and makes grammar easy to understand and learn.


2nd and 3rd: Alexius and Mary Rayne, Stuarts Draft High School, Virginia

Here are the 2nd and 3rd place winners in French, Alexius and Mary Rayne of Stuarts Draft High in Augusta County VA. Their teacher, Laura Stump, sent us a video of their interview.

Ijamin and Ainsley

Ijamin and Ainsley pose with their no.1 fan (and 11th place finisher) Ashley

Mme Stump also caught up with her students Ijahmin and Ainsley, who came 4th and 10th respectively in French.  In between them is Ashley, their ‘encourager’ (according to their teacher). Ashley also came in 11th in the competition, so she was doing a little more than just encouraging! Here’s what they had to say:

How did you prepare for the Nutty Tilez contest?

Ijahmin:  I looked at the words on the levels.

Ainsley:  I made flashcards.

Ashley:  I didn’t.

How did you feel when you started?

Ijahmin:  I felt anxious.

Ainsley:  Stressed.

Ashley:  Hungry and stressed.

How did you feel at the end?

Ijahmin:  I got frustrated and stressed.

Ainsley:  Stressed.

Ashley: Also hungry and stressed.

Do you think the contest helped you with your languages?

Ijahmin and Ashley:  Yes

Ainsley:  Yes, it really expanded my vocabulary.


3rd, 9th, and 10th: Alexander, Joseph, and Lavery, James River High School, Virginia


Alexander: ‘I felt confident I would crush the competition’

James River High School in Virginia had three winners!

Alexander, above, came in 3rd place, Lavery, below, came in 10th, and Joseph, who didn’t want his photo taken, came in 9th place.  Their teacher, Stuart Gapper, sent in these responses from them:

How did you prepare for the Nutty Tilez contest? 

Alexander: I didn’t do anything extra to prepare for the contest; just the opportunities we were given in class.

Joseph: I play ‘Nutty Tilez’ for a few hours a week.

Lavery: I didn’t do anything special to prepare for the contest.

How did you feel when you started?

Alexander: I felt confident that I would crush the competition…especially Middle School students.

Joseph: I felt excited about the possibility of winning a prize.

Lavery: I was pretty eager to win a prize.

How did you feel at the end? 

Alexander: Really pleased that I placed 3rd this time after coming 6th last time.

Joseph: Disappointed that I placed 9th this time (after placing 8th last time).

Lavery: I was surprised that I managed to stay in the top 10 because I only spent about 45 minutes competing in the final round.

Do you think the contest helped you with your languages? 

Alexander: It’s a great vocab builder – especially for a Level 1 German student like me.

Joseph: It’s a good vocab builder.

Lavery: It helped my knowledge of both German vocabulary and British English! (e.g. lido, CV)

What is your favourite thing on, aside from Nutty Tilez?

Alexander: I like the vocab section most of all.

Joseph: I am eagerly anticipating the German grammar section!

Lavery: I like doing the jigsaw video activities.


Lavery proudly displaying his certificate

4th and 5th: Taylor and Caitlyn, Culpeper County High School, Virginia

The 4th and 5th place winners are Taylor and Caitlyn, both students of David Benson at Culpeper County High School in Virginia.  You may remember that Taylor placed in the last Nutty Tilez competition too.  Well done on that winning streak, Taylor!  Here’s what Taylor had to say:


How did you prepare for the Nutty Tilez contest?  I prepared by playing it and trying to do my very best on every level.

How did you feel when you started?  I felt almost as nervous as I did last time, but I knew it was nothing to be worried about. It was just friendly competition so I didn’t need to sweat it.

How did you feel at the end? I was happy because I got farther than any other time I played Nutty Tilez.

Do you think the contest helped you with your languages? Yes I learned a lot of new words that will help me in future projects.

What is your favorite thing on, aside from Nutty Tilez? My favorite thing on This Is Language is that you can do stuff at your own pace and that you don’t have to rush to finish something. I like the different exercises you can do that help with learning and even Nutty Tilez.

And here’s Kaitlyn:


How did you prepare for the Nutty Tilez contest? I examined each list carefully and used methods of repetition to memorize the words, doing things like writing the words I missed down two or three times, repeating the words out loud as I enter the answers, and re-reading the lists for the levels a few times.

How did you feel when you started? 
I was anxious. I tend to take competitions seriously regardless of who I’m competing against or what the subject is. I am just a competitive person. Everyone else seems to be farther than me, so I guess you could say I felt rushed, to an extent.

How did you feel at the end? Honestly? I never thought I’d make it as far as I did, this being my first Nutty Tilez competition. I was proud of myself and relieved, kind of, when the time was up and my spot in the top 5 was secure. I was exhausted from the amount of focus I had put into this, but overall, I was just really proud.

Do you think the contest helped you with your languages? There’s no doubt in my mind that it did.

What is your favourite thing on, aside from Nutty Tilez? I really like how it takes the wonderful concept of learning and turns into something fun again. Many people love learning new languages, but they find it hard because it is a lot of tedious work. It’s stressful, really, especially in a classroom environment. I personally hate being graded on every little thing, deadlines, being a statistic, and having my grades determine my ability in my elders’ eyes. This takes an immense amount of pressure of the shoulders of people like me, who love learning new languages, but hate being constantly compared to others.

6th and 8th: Liam and Varnum, Hornsby Middle School, Virginia

Teacher Karis Seltzer sent in these great videos of her two winners, Liam and Varnum, answering their interview questions.  Have a look!


7th: Megan, Sposyslvania Middle School, Virginia

Megan from Spotsylvania Middle School in Virginia came in 7th place, even though she was home sick from school! She was a bit too shy to send in a photo, but her teacher sent us along this interview with her:

How did you prepare? I practiced a lot.

How did you feel? I was physically sick and had to stay home from school.

How did you feel at the end? I felt pretty good about myself.

Do you think the contest helped with the language? Yes.