West places 5th in RI Academic Decathlon

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Cranston High School West had two teams in this year’s Academic Decathlon, with another alternate team in the waiting. Cranston West 1 came in fifth place in the competition, finishing about 2,000 points away from the Bronze medal.

Meanwhile, for the eighth consecutive year, Bishop Hendricken High School won the Academic Decathlon.

The team, which won its division in the nationals last year, will now go on to compete in the United States Academic Decathlon next month.

This year's field of state's decathletes featured more than 200 students from 12 schools from across the state. They competed in the daylong event on Sunday at the Community College of Rhode Island. This year marked the 35th annual decathlon.

Johnston High School placed second and Classical High School finished third.

This year's decathlon theme was Africa. Each team received packets of information about Africa and then spent countless hours preparing for Sunday's event. The packets contained everything from information booklets to CDs of African music, all of which helped teams to prepare for the day's events.

The decathlon consists of 10 events, including seven written tests on seven different subjects including math, science, economics, art, language, literature, and social science. Each participant had to prepare and deliver a short speech, complete an interview with the judges and then take part in the final Super Quiz Relay.

U.S. Representative James Langevin spoke to the students during the event and told them that their efforts were laudable. "We need to celebrate programs like the Academic Decathlon like we celebrate other [sports] programs," he said.

Indeed, the atmosphere during the Super Quiz Relay felt like the final moments of a hotly contested football game as the students and the crowd cheered each correct answer.

The Super Quiz Relay has long been a crowd favorite as students in each division – varsity, scholastic and honors – competed, answering multiple-choice questions relating to Africa.

West students took him individual honors, including Allison Vang with gold in Speech in the Varsity division, Jake Lauro with gold in Interview in the Scholastic division, Logan Chin with bronze in Science in the Honor division, and Stephen Lemme with bronze in Economics in the Varsity division and silver in Interview in the Varsity division.  Sebastiane Wall also received a bronze medal for Interview in the Scholastic division.

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