Senior Liam Warner was a fourth place winner in English. Junior Stephen Hannon was a sixth place winner in English.

Senior Liam Warner was a fourth place winner in English. Junior Stephen Hannon was a sixth place winner in English.

Saint Viator students love an academic challenge, so it comes as no surprise that a pair of upperclassmen—and veteran members of the Scholastic Bowl team—came away as winners at the Academic Challenge, sponsored by the University of Illinois and its Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering initiative.

Senior Liam Warner came away as a fourth place winner at state in English, while junior Stephen Hannon was a sixth place winner in English. Joining them at the state competition were seniors Mark Perkowski, who finished as a state finalist in biology, and Simon Mo who was named a state finalist in math.

“This was our first year participating and we are very proud of our students,” said Mrs. Eileen Cairo, science department chair. “They emerged from the hundreds of schools and thousands of students who participated.”

Saint Viator students began the challenge in February, when they won the regional meet before advancing to sectionals, where again they had a strong showing and four students earned their way to state after medaling in their respective events.

“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. “It speaks to the rigor of our school-wide curriculum.”

2016 WYSE state competitors.

2016 WYSE state competitors.

The Academic Challenge dates back more than 25 years. Its immediate goal is to attract a greater number of talented and diverse students to careers in engineering and the sciences.

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. The level of difficulty increases at each stage.

State finals took place April 13 at the University of Illinois in Champaign. Mrs. Cairo and Mrs. Vicky Giusti accompanied the Saint Viator students to the competition and awards ceremony.

The student competitors and alternates were:

Simon Mo
Liam Warner
Mark Perkowski
Emily Hayes
Ryan McMahon
Matt Trimberger
Thomas Swiderski
Paige Smith
Paulina Piwowarczyk
Drew Morton
Stephen Hannon
Max Paulus
Patrick Harris
Nick Spanier
Justin Cruz
Kaitlyn Solarz