2000 Academic Challenge Team

SJHS/MDHS Hall of Fame



Monica Zuck, Michael Giordano, Michael Himes, Jennifer Stires, Mark Calaguio, Nicholas Werner, Christopher Maisano (all '00), Christopher Hughes '01



The Academic Challenge team is Donovan Catholic's largest academic team. Headquartered in Room 405, it typically meets on Fridays during Flex AMrs. D'Andrea has been its moderator since its founding.  The Math League was originally part of Academic Challenge, but it became its own club in the early 1990's.

Achievements Edit

Academic Challenge has won many trophies since its inception in 1988, including a win at the Great Adventure Academic Open in 2004 and many playoff appearances in the now-sponsorless (formerly World Volkswagen, Gateway Toyota, Comcast, and GPU) academic competition.  Most notably, the 2000 team took the first place trophy (out of more than 100 teams statewide) in the 2nd Rutgers Academic Challenge, a tournament which was held from 1999 to 2004.  The Academic Decathlon team (a subdivision of Academic Challenge as a whole) meets before school as a class, but has always met after school as well. In 2004, Alexander Quinn and a student from another school became the first competitors in the Bergen West division of Academic Decathlon to receive a perfect score on the math exam.[1] Several students on the team have attained perfect scores in the speech and essay sections, and have given their speeches or had copies of their essays distributed at divisional awards ceremonies.

The 2000 Academic Challenge team was inducted into the Hall of Fame on November 30, 2012.

See also: List of Academic Challenge records

Notable competitions Edit

November: Donovan Catholic (formerly GPU Nuclear, then Comcast, then Gateway Toyota, then World Volkswagen) Academic Challenge Tournament: (MDHS JV team lost in the 2002 and 2006 final rounds, MDHS varsity team advanced to numerous quarterfinals and the 2004, 2013, and 2014 semifinals).  Donovan hosts this tournament every year; schools compete from around the state.  The standings from the 1997 GPU tournament are archived here: [2]

Spring: New Jersey/United States Academic Decathlon: MDHS advanced to the second round in 2003, 2004, and from 2007 to the present.  Also offered as a for-credit course, the ADNJ/USAD requires the most extensive preparation of any Academic Challenge event.  Each school has three divisions, separated by unweighted GPA: Honors, Scholastic, and Varsity.  "Starters" in each division compete in all ten events, while alternates compete in only seven (the three others are interview, essay, and speech.)  The Super Quiz event is a written test for alternates and a team event for starters.  The ADNJ competition consists of two rounds, which are typically held in North Jersey high schools.  The top teams in each of ADNJ's three regions advance to the state finals.  Each round has its own awards ceremony as well.

Fall: NorJAC (North Jersey Academic Championships).  Held annually at Leonia High School.

Fall: Scarlet Knight Invitational: An NAQT quiz bowl event in which individual members buzzed in with responses.  Teams and individual students were ranked.  Last held in 2008.  Standings from every NAQT event can be found here:[3]

January: Biotech BioBowl: Held at Biotechnology High School in Freehold Township.  Mon Don lost by only 25 points to Allentown in the 2014 finals.

March: New Jersey Consumer Bowl: Sponsored by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, this competition consists of questions on legal and commercial matters.  Mon Don has won the county round many times, and advanced to the state finals in 2009.

Date varies: National History Bee/Bowl: Three of Mon Don's teams qualified for the national tournament in 2011 and 2014.

Knowledge Master Open: An online team event last held in 2013.  Like the competition, its mascot- the Great Auk- is extinct.

Late Spring: Great Adventure Academic Open (MDHS team won 1st place in 2004, and 2nd place in 2009).  Held at Allentown High School in western Monmouth County, the GAAO is a statewide competition.  Its format is identical to the World Volkswagen tournament, and it consists of multiple rounds.

May: The Dan Kochis Invitational.  A U.S. history competition named after 2003 graduate (and 2003 Academic Decathlon regional speech winner) Daniel Kochis.

January 10, 2013: The Academic Challenge reunion included a four-team competition and two-team buzzer tournament.

Alum acadeca

Academic Challenge alumni at the reunion on January 10, 2013.