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SJS places 12th in state academic team competition

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By Kelly Cantrall

Middle school students at St. James finished the academic competition season in the top 15 in the state.

St. James Catholic Regional School placed 12th overall in the state Governor’s Cup academic competition earlier this month. The quick recall team made it to the quarterfinals of the competition, while eighth-grader Jacob Dvorjak placed fifth in the state in the social studies written assessment competition.

Quick recall team members began practicing twice a week to ready themselves for the state competition, which eighth-grader Riley Jones felt helped the team during the matches.

“I felt like we were very prepared,” Jones said.

For a few students, this was their first trip to a state competition. Sixth-grader Kyle Landis said he felt anxious.

“I just didn’t know what it would be like,” Landis said.

The teams start in pool play, where groups of four compete against each other, typically resulting in one team advancing further. St. James went undefeated in pool play and received a bye in the drawing for the next match. They competed two more times and lost to Southern Middle School in Pulaski County.

This was the last year of competition for Jones and several other team members.

“It’s kind of hard because it’s been such an important part of your life for three years,” she said.

Dvorjak said he’s learned a lot in the last three years of quick recall competition. He looks back on questions he missed in sixth grade and finds them easy now.

While the team was disappointed they didn’t win, they still were pleased with the results, which matched their results last year. Dvorjak said it’s a good feeling considering the sizes of some of the schools with which they’re matched.

“We just took what we had and made the most of it,” he said.

Dvorjak said he also felt very well prepared for his social studies exam, which consists of 50 questions and 20 tiebreakers. The test must be completed in 50 minutes.

Dvorjak finished fifth last year too, and wished he could have placed higher, though he stressed that fifth in the state is a good accomplishment.

“There are only four other people in front of you,” he said.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.