For the third year in a row, a team of Saint Viator students took first place at a regional Academic Challenge, sponsored by the University of Illinois and its Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE) initiative.

The students swept all three medals in biology, including a perfect score for Patti Miller, as well as winning medals in math, physics, chemistry, computer science and English.

The contest took place at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines. A team of 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 next month at Vernon Hills High School.

Among the other medal winners were Thomas Stanila ’18 and Kiana Resch ’19, who placed second and third respectively in biology; Marcus Lannie ’19 who took first in math; Will Sheriff ’18 who earned a second in physics and chemistry, while Sean Carey ’18 and Matt McManaman ’19 placed second and third respectively in computer science; and Jeremy Yoder ’18 placed third in English.

Rounding out the team were Maura Hogaboom ’19, Colleen McMahon ’19, Amalia Sordo–Palacios ’19, Bobby Douglas ’18, Rebecca Wolf ’18 and Matt Zawilenski ’18.

“Personally, I think it speaks to the rigor of our schoolwide curriculum,” said Mrs. Cate Majka, who accompanied the students.

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 in April in Champaign.

The University of Illinois started the initiative to foster excellence in mathematics and the sciences, and ultimately attract a greater number of talented and diverse students to careers in engineering and the sciences.