By Daniel Doan | Editor in Chief
Senior Mark Saving placed second in the national Academic Decathlon competition, which started on April 21 in Madison, Wis.
Mark broke the previous record by scoring 6,802.9 points out of 7,000 in the seven multiple choice tests, all of which were on different subjects.
“I thought in many ways I exceeded my own expectations, and I’m glad I had a chance to compete and have a great time with Mr. Fields,” Mark said.
Mark earned a score of 9,338.3 points at the state meet, at least 500 points higher than was required to earn a spot in the national competition.
There at the national competition, surrounded by several hundred other high school students, Mark earned medals in eight of his 10 events, only falling short in interview and essay.
The only other person who could say the same was the student from California who earned first place, though her overall performance wasn’t as impressive as Mark’s.
“Academic Decathlon has been a very rewarding experience for me and I can’t wait to see how Pearce does in the future,” Mark said.
AcDec teacher Matt Fields remarked that he saw how Mark was instantly recognized by teachers and students alike at the national competition.
When he talked with other teachers, he realized they felt the same way he did, that Mark would score among the very top students of the hundreds there.
“I wasn’t surprised with where he ended the competition. First place in Texas with one of the top scores of all time in the country was something I knew he was capable of at the start of this year’s competition.
His dedication has given him the opportunity to be competitive at the absolute highest levels of AcDec, and I would say he’s known nationally for his efforts,” Mr. Fields said.
Though Mark’s AcDec career is over, he will still help by teaching the candidates for next year’s team.
At the moment he will simply be teaching math, though once they get the study guides for next year, it will grow to include economics and some arts and music.
“I think what he’s done is something students, and student in the years to come, will work to achieve, and the culture of this program will allow Mark to continue to share his knowledge with the next generation of decathletes,” Mr. Fields said.
In the fall, Mark will be attending Rice University in Houston, and he chose this school for a variety of reasons, including that it is a top 20 school, accepts almost every AP credit and allows for students to double major,
While colleges don’t have AcDec competitions, that won’t stop Mark from challenging himself.
At the moment he plans to compete in math competitions and possibly more, though he’s playing it by ear for now.
“Mark has worked so hard and it’s been mind- blowing to watch it happen,” senior Kate Parks said. “I can say with absolute certainty that Rice will be lucky to have him.”