Congratulations to Our Academic Decathlon Team

Although the focus for this month’s Christian GEM quality is “humility,” we have many great reasons to feel a bit of Dolphin pride! There are several students at Sts. Simon & Jude School who have worked hard to achieve scholastic success, and we could not be more proud of them. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our Academic Decathlon Team for all of their wonderful accomplishments at this year’s competition. Last year, our students earned 14 medals; this year’s team raised the bar and earned a total of 37 medals! By the end of the arduous competition there was only one thing I knew for sure—I am NOT smarter than our Decathletes!

  • Patrick McCormick — Literature & Super Quiz Captain
  • Colin Weaver — Math & Logic Captain – Gold medal
  • Brian Lawhead — Religion
  • Benjamin Le — Current Events – Gold medal
  • Connor Bogart — Fine Arts
  • Savannah Buyan — English
  • Meghan Le – Science – Silver medal
  • Katherine Wieland — Social Studies – Silver medal
  • Teresa Pham and Mila Tran — Members-at-Large
  • SSJ Decathlon Team – Bronze medals – Logic Quiz
  • SSJ Decathlon Team – Bronze medals – Super Quiz
  • SSJ Decathlon Team – Bronze medals – Overall Competition

I would also like to congratulate Benjamin Le, who not only won the National Geographic Bee here at SSJ, but who also successfully completed the next challenge level and has now qualified to compete in the statewide competition in Fresno on Friday, April 1st. One champion from each state and territory will advance to the national competition, which will be held May 22-25 at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C. We wish Ben much luck and success as he continues his academic endeavors!

And finally, congratulations to Lauren Schaeffer who was named as a finalist in the Chapman University Holocaust contest and honored at their recent awards luncheon. Students from more than 600 schools in 20 states and four countries submitted essays, artwork, poetry and film for an international competition that focuses on Holocaust victims who lived in a world that was defined by inhumanity and indifference. Many of these victims, like Celina Biniaz, refused to allow their humanity to be destroyed. This was the first time that one of our SSJ students submitted a film. The following is Lauren’s artist statement, and the link to her film. The gloves symbolize the Nazi tyranny and the pieces of paper represent the Jewish community. Link:

Fear is all that Celina Biniaz experienced for most of her life. Her struggles, her memories, and her life all came from fear. The white glove represents the Nazis and their tyranny. The paper represents the experience of the Holocaust. Although her life was ruined by the Nazis, Celina forgave. She had to forgive, just as we must forgive.

We are very proud of our amazing students and all that they have achieved! We hope that you will join us in recognizing and congratulating them. It’s definitely a great time to be a Dolphin at SSJ!