West Valley wins state Academic Decathlon

mdunham@adn.comFebruary 17, 2013 

Fairbanks' West Valley High School won the state championship at the 29th Alaska Academic Decathlon held at the Anchorage Hilton Hotel Feb. 14-16. The West Valley team, coached by Coby Haas and Thomas McClelland will represent Alaska at the national competition in Minneapolis, Minn. April 25-27.

West Valley also received the rarely given Sportmanship award. Curtiss Clifton, the state director for the event, said the students alerted officials that a test in the competition was identical to one apparently sent to them in error and used as a practise test.

"It would have given them an unfair advantage, but they 'fessed up," Clifton said. Alternate tests were given and the team stayed late to answer the new set of questions. Their honesty could have cost them the championship, Clifton said. "In fact their scores on the alternate test were lower than on the original one." But in the final talley, they accumulated a total of 36,557.2 points to 36,154.6 for another Fairbanks high school, Lathrop.

Lathrop was last year's state champion and was coached by a team that included the Alaska teacher of the year, Chris Benshoof.

In the Academic Decathlon, high school students compete both as individuals and teams to accumulate the highest number of points in written essays, interviews and tests in a variety of subjects. Teams must be equally proportions among middle, higher and top-ranked students as determined by grade point averages. Clifton explained that the designations "Varsity," "Scholastic" and "Honors" refer to C, B and A students.

In sports terms, it is as if school basketball teams were required to include and allow equal playing time for students of different heights.

"It can be difficult to recruit a C student in an academic competition," Clifton said. "They're not always interested in spending time learning something new." However, he added, the competition often gives an incentive to such students to exceed their own expectations.

In team evaluations, school compete against other schools of similar size in three divisions, large, medium and small.

Twenty Alaska schools were in the competition, none from Anchorage. The team from Unalaska was weathered in and could not make the live part of the decathlon, although they completed the essay portion. Clifton said about 165 students took part.


2013 Academic Decathlon results

The results of the 2013 GCI Alaska Academic Decathlon as given in the script for the awards banquet on Feb. 16 in the Hilton Hotel in Anchorage. Please contact mdunham at adn.com with any corrections.
Overall championship trophy, large schools
1. West Valley (Fairbanks), 
2. Lathrop (Fairbanks)
3. IDEA Team I (statewide homeschool distance learning program)
Overall championship, medium schools
1. Hutchinson (Fairbanks)
2. Monroe (Fairbanks) 
3. Delta
Overall championship, small schools
1. Metlakatla
2. Craig Team I
3. Craig Team II 
Super Quiz, large schools
1. West Valley
2. (tie) Lathrop and IDEA Team I
3. Valdez
Super Quiz, medium schools
1. Hutchison Team I
2. (tie) Delta, Monroe
3. American Charter Academy (Wasilla)
Super Quiz, small schools
1. Craig Team I
2. Metlakatla
3. Craig Team II
Most improved schools from last year
Large schools: North Pole
Medium schools: (none)
Small schools: Metlakatla (2nd year in a row for this award)
Individual student awards
(“Honors,” “Scholastic” and “Varsity” designate A, B and C students as determined by grade point averages):
Mathematics (Gold; Silver; Bronze)
Honors: William Mitchell, West Valley; Jared Canright, Hutchison; Atticus Geiger, West Valley
Scholastic: Robert Shidner, Valdez; Madeline Kudyba, IDEA;  (five way tie) Nathan Bowder, Monroe, Jacob Ellanna, Monroe, Jose Morales, Lathrop, Omar Canedo, Lathrop and Talon Erickson, Bering Straight
Varsity: Gunnar Buckley, Lathrop; Natasha Karna, Valdez; Elizabeth Vossen, Ketchikan
Economics (Gold; Silver; Bronze)
Honors: Thomas Keefe, IDEA; Justin Long, Valdez; Dooney Arnold, IDEA
Scholastic: Rober Shidner, Valdez; (four way tie) Roberta Spiers, West Valley, Kaden Cullen, Valdez, Kyle Short, Juneau, Neil Jones, IDEA; Justin Antonescu, Monroe
Varsity: Dooney Arnold, IDEA; Gunnar Buckley, Lathrop; (tie) Toby Naber, Hutchison and Maia Luick, West Valley
Science (Gold; Silver; Bronze)
Honors: Henrique Miller, IDEA; (three way tie) Jared Canright, Hitchison, Christine Frandsen, Lathrop and Atticus Geiger, West Valley; Bethany Cramer, Lathrop
Scholastic: Neil Jones, IDEA; Kaden Cullen, Valdez; Robert Shidner, Valdez
Varsity: Dooney Arnold, IDEA; Gunnar Buckley, Lathrop; Toney Naber, Hutchison
Literature & Languages (Gold; Silver; Bronze)
Honors: William Mitchell, West Valley; Gwen Buckley, Lathrop; (three way tie) Attigus Geiger, West Valley, Alora Zulliger, IDEA and Thomas Keefe, IDEA
Scholastic: (four way tie) Alexandra Lindsey, Metlakatla, Tazia Wagner, Metlakatla, Kyle Short, Juneau and Jonathan Raynovic, IDEA; (tie) Roberta Spiers, West Valley and Ariane Sinkey, Hutchison
Varsity: Dooney Arnold, IDEA; Gabrielle Kirchner, Metlakatla; (tie) Sol Traverso, Lathrop and Josia Milne, Metlakatla
Art (Gold; Silver; Bronze)
Honors: William Mitchell, West Valley; Christine Frandsen, Lathrop; Gwen Buckley, Lathrop
Scholastic: Dooney Arnold, IDEA; Kaden Cullen, Valdez; Nathan Boder, Monroe
Varsity: Roberta Spiers, West Valley; Gunnar Buckley, Lathrop; Sol Traverso, Lathrop
Music (Gold; Silver; Bronze)
Honors: Gwen Buckley, Lathrop; William Mitchell, West Valley; Raymond Hogenson, West Valley
Scholastic: Jasmine Brown, Juneau; Roberta Spiers, West Valley; (three way tie) Justin Antonescu, Monroe, Nathan Bowder, Monroe and Kaden Cullen, Valdez
Varsity: Dooney Arnold, IDEA; Gunnar Buckley, Lathrop; Sol Traverso, Lathrop
Social Sciences (Gold; Silver; Bronze)
Honors: (three way tie) Henrique Miller, IDEA, Gwen Buckley, Lathrop and William Mitchell, West Valley; Bethany Cramer, Lathrop; Raymond Hogenson, West Valley
Scholastic: Kaden Cullen, Valdez; Ivan Kvapil, West Valley; Neil Jones, IDEA
Varsity: Dooney Arnold, IDEA; Gabrielle Kirchner, Metlakatla; Gunnar Buckley, Lathrop
Essay (Gold; Silver; Bronze)
Honors: William Mitchell, West Valley; Nathan Swan, IDEA; Alora Zulliger, IDEA
Scholastic: Kyle Short, Juneau; Justin Antonescu, Monroe; (tie) Claire Kudyba, IDEA and Roberta Spiers, West Valley
Varsity: Dooney Arnold, IDEA; Maia Luick, West Valley; Trevor Clauder, Juneau
Speech (Gold; Silver; Bronze)
Honors: Atticus Geiger, West Valley; Alora Zulliger, IDEA; Raymond Hogenson, West Valley
Scholastic: Jasmine Brown, Juneau; Paige Hosley, Ketchikan; Ivan Kvapil, West Valley
Varsity: Gunnar Buckley, Lathrop; (tie) Dooney Arnold, IDEA and Sol Traverso, Lathrop; Maia Luick, West Valley
Interview (Gold; Silver; Bronze)
Honors: Pelle Arthur, Juneau; Chelsea Roehl, Hutchison; Raymond Hogenson, West Valley
Scholastic: Dean Davis, Delta; (tie) Ivan Kvapil, West Valley and Elle Campbell, Juneau; Alexandra Lindsey, Metlakatla
Varsity: Dooney Arnold, IDEA; Gunnar Buckley, Lathrop; (tie) Manuel Guillen, Juneau and Brent O’Connor, Craig 
Top student scores, large schools 
William Mitchell, West Valley, 7,807.9
Atticus Geiger, West Valley, 7540.7
Christine Frandsen, Lathrop, 76,508.7
Doonie Arnold, IDEA Team I, 7,471.7
Top student scores, medium schools
Jared Canright, Hutchison Team I, 6,511.1
Chelsea Roehl, Hutchison Team I, 5,838.4
William Sexton, Monroe, 5,722.4
Justin Antonescu, Monroe, 5,471.1
Top student scores, small schools
Justin Janes, Metlakatla, 5,362
Oliver Price, Craig Team I, 5,119.1
Brynna Ververs, Craig Team I, 5,018.5
Tazia Wagner, Metlakatla, 4,939.8
Speech Showcase
Honors: Atticus Geiger, West Valley
Scholastic: Jasmine Brown, Juneau
Varsity: Gunnar Buckley, Lathrop
More information at aad.gci.net


Reach Mike Dunham at mdunham@adn.com or 257-4332.



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