Placing fourth, sixth and 19th, three Waxahachie Global High teams placed in the top 20 out of more than 5,000 teams in the final round of the National Academic Competition.
The teams competed in the first two phases of the National Academic Challenge (NAC) last week, and finished the final round Saturday. Final results were announced Tuesday afternoon.
This is the first year Global High students have competed in the challenge, which is the largest online competition in the nation that demonstrates and enhances a student’s ability to engage in research in a fun and collaborative environment, according to the NAC website.
The challenge consists of three phases, two of which the Global students spent last weekend completing within 36 hours. The first phase included four hands-on tasks, and the second consisted of 110 questions related to history, music, trivia, news, languages art, technology, entertainment, sports, logical reasoning and an undisclosed topic, the website stated. Saturday’s final phase was a timed puzzle.
“Every team showed improvement, especially the underclass teams, and I was so excited about that,” said Tanya Snook, the academic coach for the teams and a Global High instructor. “The A+ team made strides, and I was super proud to see them finish and make the improvements that they made.”
When the Global teams, the Blazing Ukuleles, 404TEAMNAMENOTFOUND, and the A+ Team, competed the weekend prior in the two first phases, the teams finished in the top 25.
The Blazing Ukuleles, made of all seniors, finished second that weekend, with 404TEAMNAMENOTFOUND finishing 11th and the A+ team finishing 21st. Snook said the reason the Blazing Ukuleles finished two places lower than their original placement was because the three teams before them were tied for first.
The 4040TEAMNAMENOTFOUND team, made of sophomores, rose in ranks thanks to their quick efforts to solve the puzzle, Snook said.
Throughout the 110-question round, the teams were given 11 photos from each question category, without any other basis for them, Snook said. As they put the pieces of the photos together, the teams realized they were trying to name a machine. The photos consisted of the first three U.S. presidents, circles with numbers in them and a photo of something similar to a keyboard, she said.
The challenge started at 9 a.m. Saturday. By the team the challenge officials were about to release another clue at noon, 404TEAMNAMENOTFOUND had almost solved the puzzle, Snook said. That was a big factor in them moving further up in the rank, she said. However, as of the week prior, it was unclear of the A+ team was going to compete in the final round because each student had scheduling conflicts. Snook said the team, also made of sophomores, pulled together though over video chatting and phone calls.
“They all were excited. All three teams have a lot of perfectionists on it, so they were disappointed they didn’t rank higher,” Snook said. “So I told them they should be proud because we’ve never done this before and went into it blindly. I couldn’t be more proud of my kids.”
If any of the Global High teams were to win first place, the teammates would have split $5,000 in gift certificates between them evenly. The team’s academic coach would have also win a gift certificate worth $1,000.
As for next year, Global High will be competing again, Snook said. The 404TEAMNAMENOTFOUND members have already said they’re staying together to compete again, and a couple of students from the A+ team may compete again, too.
“I think we are going to have an even better showing next year,” Snook said. “But for our first time to compete, we hit it out of the ballpark.”