A Different Kind of Competition: Academic Challenge

Jamie Leonard, Staff Writer

A select few of students around Carterville High School participate in a group called ACES. This group competes with their knowledge on academic subjects. On April 23, these students attended a state competition in Eastern Illinois University (EIU).

Some may know the group as WYSE (Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering), this organization has adopted a new name and new coordinators. WYSE was ran by University of Illinois until EIU took over and changed the name to Academic Challenge or Aces. This year was the very first year EIU hosted the state competition. “It was their inaugural year,” said the Aces coach and mathematics teacher, Mrs. Burzynski.

A typical competition contains a numerous amount of schools competing in different subjects. Senior Braden Gentry explains how a competition is ran. “We all get individual tests in the subject you are assigned to compete in. Then you all sit in one room have around 45 minutes to take the test and then you get a break and repeat with the other subject.”

This was their first year a sophomore was selected for the team. Sophomore Connor Harris competed in biology and engineering graphics. He stated “I feel like it could help me get into college.” Connor placed 1st at Regionals in Engineering Graphics and 3rd in Sectionals in Engineering Graphics.

This year at the state competition, they had a student place in the state level mathematics. Senior Braden Gentry competes in Biology and Mathematics. This year he earned 4th place out of around 160 different people who took the test with him at the state competition.

ACES provides a different competition for students. The students are able to “compete in academics rather than in athletics,” added Mrs. Burzynski. Athletics is the most perceived competition in the society today, so the students’ showing the community their academic prowess rather than their athleticism is important.

The students involved in aces have a positive attitude towards the team and their experiences. Junior Kyle Ballestro said, “[ACES] was overall an interesting and unique experience and opportunity. I’m hoping it helps me get into college and assist me throughout it.” Braden mentioned that “being able to be around and hangout with friends during state” was something he enjoyed.

This season came successful end as many of the participants were able to place in a competition. Mrs. Burzynski expressed, “I am very proud of our student body representatives, not only for academic reasons, but also for their respectful attitudes and character. Next year expect binders because apparently that helps!”

Congratulations on your achievements this year, and good luck on the years to come.