CHARLESTON, W.VA. – George Washington High School (GWHS) (Kanawha County) won the title of West Virginia Academic Showdown Grand Champion during the program’s finale today at the State Culture Center. GWHS was among the eight teams representing four regional winners in the inaugural year for the high school scholastic competition. Spring Mills High School (Berkeley County) earned runner-up.

“It feels important. There is a gravity to being the first [to win the competition],” said Patrick Ward, GWHS team member. “We hope to come back and participate next year. We learned a lot and pulled together to learn the material.”

George Washington High School Academic Showdown Champion photo

George Washington High School Academic Showdown Grand Champion (l-r) Coach Peter Kosky and Team Members Joseph Chapman, Miles Krompecher, Claire Kosky, Reese Mason and Patrick Ward

Over the past three months, the West Virginia Academic Showdown brought high school teams to college campuses to compete on topics ranging from science and math to fine arts and pop culture. Twenty-nine (29) teams signed up for the first year, meeting at four regional matchups across the state. Teams consisted of four students from grades 9 – 12 with an optional fifth team member who served as an alternate.

The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE), West Virginia Legislature and American Electric Power provided prize money for teams that participated in Friday’s championship. The grand champion school won $10,000; runner-up $6,000; semi-finalists $4,000; and quarter-finalists $3,000. GWHS Team Captain Reese Mason was named MVP winning $1,000. To view the final bracket, visit WVDE website.

The Academic Showdown is a partnership between the Office of Senate President Craig Blair; the WVDE; the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission; the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture, and History; and West Virginia Public Broadcasting. The program aims to highlight and celebrate academic success with the same excitement and enthusiasm as school athletics.

Spring Mills High School Academic Showdown Runner up

Spring Mills High School Academic Showdown Runner-Up (l-r): Team Members Jenna Gross, Satchel Crockett, Calder Funk, Andrew Davis and McPherson Stone

“This first year has been a great success thanks to the dedication of our teams and coaches,” said State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch. “Early in the school year each of them committed to form teams and prepare for the rigors of the competition. Everyone who stepped up to participate at the regional and state levels is to be commended because this is an experience our students will not forget. We look forward to carrying the momentum into the next school year with even greater participation.”

Universities around the state hosted the regionals, bringing scholars and family members to campuses and allowing them to explore college offerings and student life more closely. The culminating event at the Culture Center provided a festive celebration to honor the commitment of the students, educators and families.

“Our inaugural host campuses made each regional a special experience for the teams, and we cannot thank them enough,” said West Virginia’s Chancellor of Higher Education Sarah Armstrong Tucker. “They opened their doors to welcome students and their families not only with exceptional hospitality, but also with important information about academic offerings, financial aid and college preparation. We were all so impressed with every high school team that competed, and we can’t wait to see what they will accomplish in the future.”

The Academic Showdown schedule included:

Date Event Location
Jan. 15 Region 1 Marshall University, Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts
Jan. 22 Region 5 Shepherd University, Frank Arts Center
Jan. 29 Region 4 West Virginia University, Mountainlair Ballrooms (canceled)
Feb. 12 Region 3 Concord University, Alexander Fine Arts Building, Main Auditorium
Feb. 19 Region 2 West Virginia State University, Fannin S. Belcher Theatre, Davis Fine Arts Center
March 25 Championship West Virginia Culture Center

The West Virginia Academic Showdown utilizes official National Academic Quiz Tournaments (NAQT) questions for all regional and championship matches. For more information, click here.

For highlights and pictures, visit the WVDE website.