Wayne County High School Academic Team wins District Competition
The Wayne County High School Academic Team is looking forward to competing at Governor’s Cup Regional Competition on Saturday, February 19 in Danville. After somewhat of a dry spell, the academic team is back on track, having won the Governor’s Cup District 48 meet recently.
Wayne County High School placed first at district with a high score of 62, with Southwestern High School placing second scoring 44, followed by McCreary Central High School.
Academic Team Coach Dean Sumpter, a Wayne County High School Social Studies teacher, has worked with this group of students each week after school. This is his first year as head coach after assisting Language Arts Teacher Jared Criswell the past couple of years. Being the academic team gurus, Sumpter and Criswell have switched roles, with Criswell staying on to serve as the assistant coach. Sumpter remembers the days he was in the students' seats competing on academic team. He was fortunate enough to make it to state competition twice during his middle school years. His Mom Tammye Sumpter, is one of the Monticello Elementary Academic Coaches, so they switch out helping each other with the extra needs on the academic teams like: moderating, judging, or score keeping and sometimes attend Governor’s Cup coaches meetings together.
This year’s seniors believe they won so impressively at district because they have been on the academic teams for years and now have seniority. It was particularly sweet to beat Southwestern’s High School Academic Team since they have been rivals over the years. Southwestern High School hosted the three schools at district. The seven-member team of competitors managed to bring back the tradition of excellence that started many years ago at Wayne County Schools when it came to academic team successes. Now, they are facing even greater odds of bringing home medals at the next level up, when they face an even greater pool of advanced competitors.
Some of the local members have been a part of academic competition for many years and have made it all the way to state competition. For instance, Senior John Rains has qualified for state five out of the six years he has been on a team. He is hoping to make that record increase this season. In fact, it is likely he holds a Wayne County School record qualifying for state competition so many times. He attributed his long standing streak perhaps to, “Inertia….I’m here to finish it.”
He does not regret that he did not go to state his freshman year, because he got to attend KUNA where the local high school team won the most outstanding representation of a country overall. The local team of gifted/talented students’ country was Uganda. It was a memorable experience for them thanks to their sponsor GT Coordinator Jennifer Chaplin.
During a recent practice, the quick witted members bantered back and forth sort of like a family at the dinner table. They are sarcastic with each other at practice, since they know each other so well. They have been meeting weekly since September and there is one set of brothers on the team and the rest have become close. They respect each other’s strengths and tease each other over their weaknesses.
“We are here honing our skills,” explained Rains, as their intellect and enthusiasm shined through. They all participated on the Quick Recall Team placing first after defeating Southwestern in two of the three rounds. They also participated in individual Written Assessment categories which helped them accumulate even more points towards the overall score.
Rains placed first in Social Studies, and second in Composition at the district competition. He plans to attend Western Kentucky University and major in English, followed up by Law School. He is a well-rounded honor student who has always valued learning. He has a 33 ACT score, so his future appears to be secure. In the meantime, he mows yards and runs a weed eater for his summer job.
Senior Kadyn McFarland, the captain of the team, has also been a part of Wayne County’s academic team longevity. He went to state twice in middle school for Future Problem Solving and Social Studies. At district he scored second place in both Science and Social Studies. He has an impressive 31 ACT score. He laughed that he had a weighted GPA of 4.5, but then he ran into the “two C’s” referring to Calculus and Criswell (Jared Criswell’s rigorous course) – that brought it down slightly. He has racked up close to 30 credit hours going into college. He has already taken probably 10 college classes offered through the high school, plus passing some Advanced Placement exams in classes like: AP Environmental Science, AP Biology, AP Government, and AP Language. He is currently taking AP Calculus.
McFarland hopes to major in Biology in college and later attend Medical School. “The BIoMed class really helps you go into this field,” he noted.
McFarland has taken all three of the high school’s Project Lead the Way courses which include: Principals of Biological Science, Human Body Systems, and Medical Interventions. Since he has completed those courses and received his white coat, he is now serving as Teacher Kelly Brown’s FTA student helper for her freshmen class. He enjoyed the program so much, he helped recruit some of the freshmen to the class last year during a tour for middle school students.
Senior Elijah Stinson, prefers to consider being a Music or Math major since those are his talents. He scored second in Mathematics and fourth in Arts and Humanities at district. He is a gifted musician that plays by ear on guitar, bass, piano and ukulele. He enjoys listening to all kinds of music. His first goal is to go into music marketing at Eastern Kentucky University. He has taken five marketing classes through Teacher Stacy Perkins. He would like to try and help musical artists make it big. His plan B is to use his Math talents to become a college professor. He has taken a Math course every year at the high school and is currently completing an online college class through Campbellsville on Statistics.
Senior Ridge Turpin was not able to go to the district meet, however, he is equally qualified to participate as a member of this epic group of scholars. He has enjoyed being on the local academic teams for some six years where he has reached regional competition placements numerous times in written assessment categories like Math, Science and Arts and Humanities. He has a 28 ACT score and would like to major in Architectural Engineering. His best subject is Math and he joined the E-Sports school team this year. His dream is to attend Vanderbilt University in Nashville. He is very familiar with the campus having attended the Vandy Summer Academy academic camps for several years.
Rounding out the rest of the team are the underclassmen: Jacob Haynes (placed first in Science and third in Social Studies, Sam Criswell (placed first in Language Arts, first in Arts and Humanities, and third in Composition), Noah Stinson (placed second in Language Arts), and Sophia Beaudoin (placed third in both Science and Arts and Humanities).
Junior Sam Criswell said she had begun her academic team participation in fourth grade at Clinton County, moving to Wayne County later. She kidded by saying, “I have no personality. But, I like being with these people.”
Most of the team members are not involved in other extra-curricular activities like sports. They may have participated in athletics as youngsters, however, they are now focusing more on academics. “We moved onto intellectual pursuits,” grinned Junior Jacob Haynes. He explained that the team has bonded and they have fun practicing and competing.
They are thankful for Coach Sumpter. “He does a good job,” said Kayden McFarland. “He tries his hardest.”
Eli Stinson added, “He is a well-read individual.”
They said sometimes they run into a difficult math problem at practice and he takes the time to show them how to work out the problem on the board. The members could have competed in the league play this past fall, however, they feel like they learned more by attending practices on a consistent basis and developing their quick recall skills.
“We took a lot of individual tests and were provided with good study materials,” to improve their written assessment skills, noted Stinson.
Quick Recall Team who won recent district competition preparing for region. (not pictured: Team member Ridge Turpin who was unable to participate at district)
(l-r:) Seniors John Rains, Eli Stinson, and Kadyn McFarland at a recent quick recall practice
(front to back) John Rains and Eli Stinson answering a question after discussing it.
Head Academic Team Coach Dean Sumpter asking questions at practice
Jacob Haynes ready to answer a question
Team Captain Kadyn McFarland running the timer.
Team members won medals in written assessments and the quick recall match at district. (Back row:) Noah Stinson, Jacob Haynes, John Rains, and Kadyn McFarland (Front row:) Sophia Beaudoin, Sam Criswell, and Eli Stinson