IMG_2478Saint Viator students competed for the first time in the Academic Challenge, sponsored by the University of Illinois and its Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering initiatives—and they came away as regional champs.

The contest took place earlier this month at Oakton Community College. A team of 14 juniors and seniors—selected by honors and AP teachers in the science department—displayed their mettle in a wide range of subject areas, and now will advance to sectionals on March 3 at Vernon Hills High School.

“This contest has been going on for 25 years, but this was the first time we learned of it,” said Mrs. Cate Majka, who accompanied the team with Mrs. Jan Grana, both physics teachers. “Personally, I think it speaks to the rigor of our schoolwide curriculum, that we won medals in each of the five subject areas and took a clean sweep in two of the areas.”

Here are the individual results:

In biology, Mark Perkowski ’16 took first place, followed by Paulina Piwowarczyk
IMG_2483’17 in second and Max Paulus ’16 placed third.

In chemistry, Patrick Harris ’17 took second and Simon Mo ’16 placed third.

In physics, Drew Morton ’16 took second.

In math, Simon Mo took first place, followed by Drew Morton in second.

In English, Liam Warner ’16 took first place, followed by Paulina Piwowarczyk ’17 in second and Stephen Hannon ’17 in third.

Team members also included seniors Emily Hayes, Ryan McMahon, Paige Smith, Thomas Swiderski and Matt Trimberger.

“It was nice to compete so well with other schools in the area,” senior Matt Trimberger said.

His classmate, Paige Smith, agreed: “This was a great opportunity to represent Saint Viator’s academic fortitude—in a challenging environment.”IMG_2482

Each year, the Academic Challenge is offered to high school students in Illinois and Missouri, by more than 50 community colleges and universities. Test material is drawn from senior high school and freshman level college curricula and is
written by teams of college and university faculty.

Levels of difficulty increase through the regional, sectional and state finals, which open March 11 in Champaign.