America is in dire need of educational support and reform. Jonathan Andrews, a senior at Hendricken, made that point with nothing but the number 36 and his bronze medal winning speech for the National Academic Decathlon competition at last week’s Academic Decathlon award ceremony at the State House.
His speech highlighted the need for education in this country when facing its rapidly falling superiority in intellectualism, being ranked 36 in mathematics in the world.
His speech ended imploring the audience to invest in the American school system because, although we have the immense power to destroy the world, the countries ranked higher than us are making the world a better place.
Andrews wants the U.S. to return to being the leading country before we “watch on the sidelines like we watch our flat screen TV’s.”
Academic Decathlon teams are comprised of students with A, B and C grade point averages who compete in a daylong series of tests in Speech, Interview, Essay, Social Science, Economics, Math, Literature, Language, Music and Art.
Fourteen senior gold medallists were congratulated and awarded $500 scholarships by Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello.
Bishop Hendricken won this year’s state competition and team members Christopher Bianco, Joshua Demelo, Jose Baez, Liam Corcoran, Daniel Mason, Benjamin Capuano, Joseph Sousa, Patrick McDonald, Johnathan Andrews and their coach Sister Carol Anne Murray traveled to Hawaii for the National Competition the week of Easter. Team members won a total of seven medals.
The ceremony began with a welcome from John Howell, who helped found the Academic Decathlon program 31 years ago and continues to be president of the board of directors.
Coach for the Hendricken Team Carol Anne Murray commended her students for their effort throughout the year.
Murray said, “Academic Decathlon does not have a season. It is a yearlong effort. To do well you have to work hard and non-stop.”
Hendricken teammate Christopher Bianco spoke about the team’s trip to Hawaii. He mentioned meeting students from all over the country and the bond made when everyone is working for the same goal.
“That is what makes Academic Decathlon so great, he said. “The people you meet and the friends you make, make the competition special. You make lifelong friendships. ”
Governor Chafee and Speaker Mattiello were present to award the senior gold winning students scholarships worth $500.
From Bishop Hendricken Jonathan Andrews won gold in speech. He plans to attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Bianco will also be attending WPI as well and he won gold in Literature, Language and Science. Benjamin Capuano won gold in Art and Social Science. He will attend Providence College in the fall. Patrick McDonald won gold in Art, Music and Social Science and will be studying at the University of Maine Farmington. Joseph Sousa won gold in Science and Math. This fall he will attend Bentley University.
From Classical High School Joham Colon received gold in Speech. He is the first student from Classical to be accepted to Berklee College of Music.
Jacob Abrams of Cranston West won gold for Interview and will attend Temple University.
From East Greenwich High School Alexandra Marcus won gold medals in Science, Heather Shen in Speech and Essay and Jane Chung in Language, Literature and Economics. After a biotech research in San Diego this summer, Marcus will attend Kilachand Honors College at Boston University. Chen will study at Stanford University and Chung will attend Pennsylvania State University.
Matthew Bizer of South Kingstown High school won gold in Music. He will be attending the University of Florida this fall.
Two students from the Wheeler School won gold: Shannon Holley in Economics and William Lupica in Mathematics. Holley will attend the University of Notre Dame.
From Narragansett High School, Ulysses Duncan was gold in Language, Literature and Economics.