Studying for Fun

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Team members listen carefully during questioning at an ACE match.

Team members listen carefully during questioning at an ACE match.

Team members listen carefully during questioning at an ACE match.

Hannah Dimmitt

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Imagine studying just for the fun of it. That challenge was accepted by members of this year’s Academic Competition for Excellence (ACE) team.

Established in 1984, this competition among NWA high schools engages students in a battle of the minds.

“They try to start [studying] as early as possible. They use specific textbooks and are given certain chapters to study from. You don’t always have to be the smartest person; it sometimes benefits to be a good learner,” said Mr. Williams, assistant principal and sponsor of the ACE team.

Preparation for ACE includes a lot of outside of school work. There are a lot of summer study sessions for tests and materials. They also sometimes come in during the summer after excessive studying.

“We try to have a team in place at the beginning of the school year. We start recruiting after Spring Break each year,” said Williams.

With 8 new team members this year, the group faced the season not knowing how their inexperience could possibly show itself.

“It was something very new that I hadn’t done before. It was a way to challenge myself and for me to step out of my shell. I regret not doing it sooner,” said Everett.

Working time for studying into a person’s schedule presented challenges for team members.

“It was definitely different than what was expected. There was a lot of hard work and early mornings. Overall, it was worth it and I gained a lot of knowledge that will come in handy later on,” said Oslica.

The members of the team include Tanner Barnes, Cody Parrish, Hope Davenport, Brooklyn Warren, Kailey Larkins, Matt Everett, Aly Oslica, Jayden Goff, Coleman Warren, and Andy Cook.

Deciding which category to focus on during their preparation for matches became a top priority.

“[They] pick something that they are interested in or strong in. It can also be based on a need for a student in a particular subject. We usually try to keep it to that person’s strength. All we ask is that you are an expert in one subject. However, we have had students in the past that have played two subjects. It doesn’t happen very often but it has happened before,” said Williams.

The students must audition, through their own accordance or by teacher recommendation, like they would for sports or choir, to be in ACE.

“Geography, US History, Government, Shakespeare, Vocab, Literature, Current Events, Sports, Chemistry, Art History, Biology, Physics, World History, and Math are the categories offered,” said Williams.

For the recent competition, the team won 1500 dollars, which equates to about 150 dollars a person. It also appears that of the current members, 3 of them will return for next year.

“We had 3 juniors and 7 seniors this year. We will be looking for at least 7 new spots,” said Williams.

Informational meetings for interested students are planned shortly after the return from Spring Break.

“Some students wish they would have started earlier. If you are interested, give it a try. Some students regretted waiting until senior year. They loved it and didn’t want to give it up. If you even have a thought of wanting to do an academic team, I encourage you to try out for ACE,” said Williams.

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