Twenty-nine high schools competed May 5 in an academic contest that resembled an athletic contest. Teams from all across Texas competed in the State Academic Challenge sponsored by the Texas Association of Community Schools.
The contest was held at The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton. Schools from north of Amarillo to south of Houston competed in the contest. All of the teams qualified for the state contest by competing at one of six area contests across the state.
Each team consists of three high school students (three levels based on GPA averages). Each team member competes in four rounds of five questions each. The students have 15 seconds to answer each question. The competition gets intense and exciting as students compete for college scholarships.
Gene Sheets, superintendent of Muleshoe ISD, is the state director for the Academic Challenge. Sheets reported that the state contest this year had to go to a tiebreaker round to determine the final outcome. He commented that the excitement level and tension at the end of the contest was similar to the end of a close athletic competition.
Results for the first-fifth places and total amount of scholarships won for each team:
First place: Comanche High School Team U: $7,410. Team members were Alyxandria Laughlin, Clinton Simpson and Jacob Elizondo.
Second place: Dalhart High School Team I: $3,675. Team members were Lea Baumert, Jerrick Cendejas and Jenaro Hernandez.
Third place: Denver City High School Team Q: $2,940. Team members were Kathryn English, Brent Golden and Adan Vasquez.
Fourth place: Peaster High School Team I: $2,205. Team members were Jennette Saunders, Trace Gustafson and Tyler Ochs.
Fifth place: Hamilton High School Team I: $1,470. Team members were Patrick DeJong, Janna Oglesby and Braxton Moore.
This year, just under $20,000 in college scholarships were awarded at the state contest alone. Another $30,000 in college scholarships were awarded at the area contests held across the state. The Academic Challenge contest has given away more than $500,000 in scholarships in the last 10 years.
Competing schools must be an institutional member of the Texas Association of Community Schools.
Sponsors for the Academic Challenge include: Texas Association of Community Schools, Powell & Leon LLC., BWA Architects, Gallagher Construction, Government Capital and Parson’s Roofing.