Above: Team photo, from left: KC Bisetti, Cooper Jones, Zalmay Ahmad, Emmett Bassen-Alexander, Mia Pinkes, Guy Sanchez, Julia Xu and Raj Vishnu. Community submission
The East Greenwich High School Academic Decathlon team placed first in the state earlier this month, for the first time since 2010. It was a good feeling, especially since the EGHS team has been among the top three finishers for several years.
“We had a strong team overall,” said team advisor Ben Revkin, the school’s Latin teacher. “We scored 34,000 – the next team scored 31,000, so we won by a significant amount.”
Acadeca, as it is often called, works to include students across the grade divide. There are three levels of competition: honors, scholastic and varsity, which equate roughly to grade levels, with honors being students with an A average, and so on.
That’s part of the challenge. A competition like this can easily attract honors students. Those with lower grades might not realize they too can compete and, in fact, are needed.
“I do think we were very well rounded this year,” said team member Emmett Bassen-Alexander, a junior in his second year of competition. The team was strong at every level. Bassen-Alexander said they worked hard this year to recruit students from different levels, starting with the club fair, where they had an outsize display. A lot of students sign up initially, but the numbers winnow down, though Bassen-Alexander said they work hard to keep students in the different ranks.
It’s not a small commitment.
The team starts meeting once a week for two hours in October. “It’s very dense reading – almost like an extra class,” Revkin said. “I emphasize their speech writing; and their interview skills – the soft skills that we can practice quite a bit.”
This year the state competition was in-person again – last year’s was virtual – and that meant students got to meet other students.
“The tests are the same in either case but it was a lot of fun to be in a group setting,” Bassen-Alexander said.
Having won states, the EG team moves on to the nationals in early April, which will be virtual again this year. That’s a disappointment but, for Revkin anyway, a bit of a relief, since he would have had to organize a significant trip in just a few weeks.
Regardless of what happens next, it was exciting to win states.
“We got second last year but this year we really stepped it up,” said Bassen-Alexander.
Congratulations and good luck, Avengers!
Find the individual awards HERE.