Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

December 10, 2012

Students are ‘masters of knowledge’

Verity academic team earns top rank in Ky., 21st in world

Carrie Stambaugh
The Independent

ASHLAND — By CARRIE STAMBAUGH

The Independent

ASHLAND The Verity Middle School Academic Team demonstrated its mastery of knowledge against international competition last week.

On Wednesday, the team competed in the Knowledge Master Open, a curriculum-based contest featuring 200 questions from a range of academic disciplines. Teams work together to answer questions, submitting their response by computer in a timed test. Answers are scored based on correct responses as well as the amount of time taken.

Verity’s team scored 1,525 points out of a possible 2,000, placing it in the top 4 percent of competitors from around the world.

In addition to finishing as the top school in Kentucky for the second year in a row, the Patriots finished 21st out of the 508 teams that competed in the middle-school category.

The Verity team is 18 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders, including Ingam Acha, Jacob Baldock, Will Carroll, Shelby Conley, Dawson Coovert, Abby Crites, Hannah DePriest, Aryn Hughes, Connor Hutchinson, Wren Jenkins, Constance Jones, Courtney Jones, Brianna Lambert, Spencer Left, Shalayna Rice, Nate Rickman, Payton Scott and William Zheng.

“We are really proud of them,” said Verity Principal David Greene. “It’s a testament to their hard work and their commitment, and (they are) certainly representing our school in a huge way. They work hard every day and they are starting to see the fruits of their work.”

“I am very proud of them,” echoed team coach and eighth-grade science teacher Tonya Brady. “We’ve gotten first place in Kentucky several times, but we’ve never gotten so high in the whole perspective of it.”

Brady attributed this year’s success to hard work and an exceptional team.

“We had the perfect mix of kids. They worked together really well and we had a really good computer operator,” she said, noting Jenkins was responsible for entering the team’s responses into the computer. “They are really working hard this year, and you can see how hard they work in their results.”

Brady said the team practiced using old tests several times before last week’s competition. The test can take up to 2 1⁄2 hours to complete.

The team practices every afternoon after school.

Assistant academic coach Dan Boyer, the school’s orchestra instructor, provided guidance Wednesday, Brady said.

According to officials, results are tabulated into overall, state and enrollment size rankings by Academic Hallmark, a Colorado publishing firm that sponsors the event. The contest was founded in 1983 and draws participation from more than 3,000 schools with more than 45,000 participants.

Teams compete in the fifth- and sixth-grade category, as well as middle- and junior- and high-school levels.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.