A team of high school students representing Polk County finished in third place in the state high school academic tournament held April 7 to 9 at the Coronado Springs Convention Center at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista. The title of the tournament is the Commissioner’s Academic Challenge. The event is associated with the commissioner’s office of the Florida Department of Education
Polk was third with 155 points in the finals to state champion Escambia County’s 238 points. Orange County was the state runner-up with 212 points. Polk competed in a division against 17 school districts with enrollments more than 38,000 students. Polk tested their knowledge over three days at the states against other counties in mathematics, science, language arts, social studies, world languages, technology, fine arts and humanities.
2011 marks the fifth consecutive year that Polk finished among the top three. Polk was state champion in 2007, state-runner up in 2010 and 2008 and third in 2009 and 2011.
Polk’s team was composed of Kevin Baker (senior, Winter Haven’s All Saints’ Academy), Olivia Glotfelty (senior, Lakeland’s Harrison School For The Arts), Stephon Mikell Jr. (senior, Bartow International Baccalaureate), Bianca Mulaney (junior, Bartow International Baccalaureate), Kenny Parker (senior, Lakeland High) and Jacob Renuart (junior, Haines City International Baccalaureate). Baker, Mulaney and Parker were also members of the 2010 Polk team that was state runner-up. Coaches for both the 2010 and 2011 teams were Caroline King and CeCe Sinclair of All Saints’ Academy.
The six students were chosen for the Polk team based upon their performances at the county academic tourney held in February and won by Haines City High/International Baccalaureate.
Supporting groups for the Challenge included Aramark Education, the Florida Department of Education, the Florida High School Athletic Association, the Florida Lottery, Herff Jones, Inc. and the school districts of Brevard, DeSoto, Leon, Pinellas, Polk, Suwanee and Wakulla.