Hilo students 11th in national competition

by John Burnett
Tribune-Herald Staff Writer
Published: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 8:39 AM HST

While the eyes of Hawaii were on Hilo and the Merrie Monarch Festival, a group of 10 Hilo High School students were on the mainland making Hilo proud.

The school’s state champion academic decathlon team placed 11th overall, and third in schools between 750-1,500 students, in the United States Academic Decathlon National Finals, this past Wednesday through Saturday in Charlotte, N.C.

“It turned out well,” said Nicholas Pang, the team’s captain. He was the team’s highest scorer, which comes with a $500 scholarship and won a silver medal in social science.

Each student competes in 10 events: economics, essay, art, interview, language and literature, math, music, science, social science and speech.

Team members, in addition to Pang, are: Hannah Rojeski, Hirohisa Takato, Mark Jimenez, Duncan Keith, William Kahanu Salavea, Brace Gotshalk, John Douglas Haswell, Reality Sergeant and Vernon Warnock.

“They were self-motivated. They pretty much taught themselves the material and they worked really hard and put in the time and effort,” said Charlene Masuhara, who coached the team with Suzanne Irish, Erin Neizmen and Brenda Pratt.

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