Pratt rises to the top of virtual academic olympics competition at PCC this year

Ruby Howell
Pratt Tribune
Pratt High School Greenbacks took top honors in recent Academic Olympics competitions against other area high school students.

Pratt High School students recently took home yet another first place finish in the Pratt Community College hosted Academic Olympics. A lesser, known activity, the Academic Olympics is a competition consisting of just about every subject under the sun, from AG mechanics, acting and journalism to chemistry, foreign language and geography. Students essentially compete by either taking an objective test in their respective area, or submitting a pre-completed project. 

This event has always been hosted at the Pratt Community College. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the entire event was done virtually, and many test events were cut. Usually, Pratt sends about 70-75 students involved, and this year the numbers were about half of that.  Also, in the past, the Olympics were divided into two divisions, but this year schools size 1A-6A all competed against each other. Out of the 27 categories, there was at least one Pratt High student, if not more, in the top three in 16 of them.

Denise Loganbill, the PHS sponsor, has been doing Academic Olympics at the high school for the 18 out of the 21 years she has been working there. Each year, she said, Pratt has gotten first, second, or third place. Currently, PHS has a four year streak of first place. This year has been all about adaptation, and making sure students can still participate in fulfilling activities in a safe manner. However, this doesn’t mean that the online switch came without a learning curve and bumps along the way. 

“I know that this was the first time doing it this way, so there were tech problems that had to be worked through, however PCC had a great tech person on zoom for us to reach out to and that helped greatly,” Loganbill said. “To my knowledge everyone rolled with the "problems" and they were worked out quickly.” 

Loganbill said she hopes that the format will return to in-person competition by this time next year. However, she said that if it stays virtual, she hopes that PCC is able to add back the other subject areas. 

Several new contests were added this year, including ceramics, mixed media, graphic design and vocal music solo and duet. Although new contests were added, there were also several that could not be offered.

Students placing within the top three places in each category were awarded a certificate for their achievement, as well as points toward their school’s overall point total. The three high schools with the highest number of points and finishing in the top 3 places overall, were awarded a certificate.

There were 225 virtual entries from 9 different schools.

The overall winners were: Pratt High School – 1st place; Norwich High School – 2nd place; Central Plains High School – 3rd place.

Pratt winners include: Alyssa Green and Hogan Thompson in Duet Acting, Colby Barradas in Solo Acting, Luke Huslig in Ag Mechanics, Jordyn Sanko in Art Graphic Design, Elyssa Ford in Business Presentation, Walker Green in Creative Writing-Short Story, Grace May in Creative Writing-Essay, Ruby Howell in Journalism-Editorial Writing, Sterling Rector in Journalism-News Writing, Ruby Howel in Journalism- Sports Writing, Kaylie Winkel in Photography- Color, Morgan Riepl in Photography- Black and White, and Kaylie Winkel in Photography-Student Life Black and White. 

Pratt teachers who helped make the first-time virtual Academic Olympics a success included Rose Beilman, Rayna Bolen, Rachel Easdon, Tony Smith, Jennifer Wahrman, Tate Thompson, Pam Rhodes and Kelly Harris.