WYSE State Competition


photo by Dave McCleary

Meridian Students working on their WYSE tests with Mr. McCleary. The team had to compete virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Academic Challenge team, or better known as the WYSE team, took their sectionals tests on April 12, at Meridian High School.

Team sponsor Dave McCleary took over the team for former sponsor Jeanine Rude.

“The tests are basically just standardized tests in each category. […] The time frame is just really slim to complete all of the questions. The chemistry test is very similar to the math one,” senior team member, Hallie Gates said. “Everything is multiple choice. The English test splits into categories—spelling, definitions, reading comprehension, […].”

Because of COVID-19, the competition made some changes to keep the social distancing.

“It was different from any previous competition because it was all online,” McCleary said. “In previous years, we would have traveled to Richland Community College for regionals and Eastern Illinois University for both sectionals and state competitions. This year, it was all in my classroom.”

In previous years, the team has gone to Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, IL, to compete in person, but due to COVID-19, the team had to compete virtually.

‘This year we get our scores automatically, but there are some errors in the tests too, so sometimes the final score is different. The only thing we don’t learn immediately is how we placed. […] Some people thought they did horrible on the physics test because their scores were so low, but they actually placed.” Gates said. “We weren’t able to compete in person but if we place in the top ten at State we plan to go celebrate with a team dinner.”

The team now waits for the results.

“I felt good about sectionals. I have a bunch of smart people on the team and that makes me happy. The sectional tests are very hard, but I think we held our own.” McCleary said. “I’m really proud of my group and hope we improve again next year.”