SCOTTSDALE — Students at Our Lady of Perpetual Help have consistently proved they’re up for an academic challenge. This month marked the fifth time in seven years that produced a state winner through the American Scholastic Achievement Challenge. It was also the first time that the trophy made repeat visits to the same household.
Rachel Larsen, who placed first two years ago in the sixth-grade division of the comprehensive online assessment, placed first among Arizona students as an eighth-grader this year. Trent Miller, a sixth-grader, scored highest among his peers statewide on the 100-question exam that covered general knowledge categories alongside language and literature, geography, history, science and math.
Miller’s brother Luke, was the eighth-grade winner last year.
“I am so proud of Rachel and Trent. They are carrying on our tradition of academic excellence that is so much a part of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School,” said Donna Lauro, principal, when she received news of the results.
Some 16,000 middle school students and 4,500 sixth-grade students from across the country competed this year. A committee of middle school teachers organized the first challenge in 2001 simply as a forum for demonstrating student knowledge and thinking skills and to recognize excellence. It went national a year later.
OLPH’s Douglas Wong represented Arizona in 2008 for the eighth-grade competition. The K-8 Catholic school, located in the heart of downtown Scottsdale, has a rich history in the local community and a long tradition of academic excellence, living its charism of Knowledge, Love, Service.