Senior Simon Mo.

Senior Simon Mo.

Junior Steve Hannon.

Junior Steve Hannon.

The stakes keep going up for Saint Viator students who competed for the first time in the Academic Challenge, sponsored by the University of Illinois and its Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering initiative.

Not only did they come away as regional champs in February, but they medaled at the sectional meet earlier this month and as a result four students from Saint Viator’s academic team will be competing at the state meet in April.

“We had a really strong showing at both regionals and sectionals,” 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.”

Competition at the sectional meet was tough. It took place at Vernon Hills High School, where 10 teams from the division — who all had placed first or second at their respective regionals — went head to head.

Saint Viator medalists included:

  • Senior Liam Warner took first place in English
  • Senior Simon Mo took second place in Math
  • Junior Steven Hannon took third place in English
  • Senior Mark Perkowski qualified to advance to state

The Academic Challenge dates back more than 25 years, but this was the first year Saint Viator entered a team. Each year, the contest 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 and sectional meets, building toward the challenging state finals, which open April 11 in Champaign.