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DEVENS — In Job Corps, students are often acknowledged for obtaining their GED, receiving a high school diploma, completing a vocational training program or securing employment. Students at Shriver Job Corps however, are being recognized for something a little different. They have recently earned the right to be called Academic Champions.

In late August, six students and two staff members from Shriver Job Corps, located in Devens, participated for their second year in an Academic Olympic Competition. Shriver students competed initially against Iroquois and South Bronx Job Corps Centers, both centers located in New York State. The district competition was held in New Rochelle, NY and hosted by the South Bronx Job Corps Center. There were six district finals held throughout the region. The six winning teams would unite and meet head to head at the regional competition. Students from the participating centers competed in five content areas: Science, social studies, language arts, math and spelling. Shriver Job Corps students were victorious and secured their seat at the Regional Competition.

In early October, Shriver students traveled to the Regional Competition held in Ocean City, Md. Students were anxious regarding the tough competition that they would face from the five opposing teams. Shriver would take on Pittsburgh, Westover, Charleston, Old Dominion and Philadelphia Job Corps Centers. The Shriver team was in fourth place at the intermission. Students fought back, answered every question correctly for three consecutive rounds, and were in first place at end of the competition. Shriver students were announced the winning team at the banquet that followed the event.

Shriver Job Corps students were guided by two highly dedicated staff members. For a second year, Academic Olympic Coach, Mary Merkel, a GED Instructor at Shriver, has prepared her students for every aspect of this competition. The team was assisted and accompanied by Lou Manzelli, a SUN Microsystems Instructor at Shriver.

Students at Shriver Job Corps coincidentally reside in dormitories named Unity, Champion, Victory and Achievement. All of which can be used to describe this team of students. Scott St. Martin, 19, of Stockton, Calif., is a computer technology student who competed in Social Studies. Carpentry student, Jon Dille, 18, of Cranston, R.I., competed in language arts. Business technology student, Kevin Pope, 18, of Billerica, competed in the spelling portion of the event. Jessie Corbett, 21, of Athol, a CNA student, competed in Science at the district competition.

Two individual Shriver students were acknowledged for their outstanding performances during the competition. Schuylor Chatman, 21, of Danbury, Conn., a transportation communication union student who served as the alternate in the district competition, was recognized for his outstanding performance in science at the regional competition. Matthew Stone, 24, of Milford, a SUN Microsystems student, received outstanding performance in Mathematics and was additionally recognized for having an overall perfect score.

Students returned home from the competition with extreme enthusiasm, pride, cash prizes, a number of trophies and are looking forward to next years’ competition.