There has been several students from Clinton County to advance to the state level of the Governor’s Cup since its inception in 1986, but in the past five years none have placed at the state level until this year.
Jacob Williams, a junior at Clinton County High School, is the son of Mike and Teresa Williams. He has been a part of the Academic Team since he was in fourth grade and finishing that high in the state competition has been a dream for him.
At this year’s state competition, Williams finished third in the Social Studies category, which marks the first student in at least the past five years, according to Principal Sheldon Harlan, from Clinton County to place in the state competition.
“It was a pleasant surprise,” Williams said. “I’ve been a member of the Academic Team since the fourth grade and I’ve always wanted to place in the top 10 in the state … it’s been one of my goals.”
Kathy Conner, the Academic Team Coach, has been coaching the team for the past five years.
Conner said a lot of work and determination goes into getting ready for a competition.
“You have to have self motivated students and we have that,” Conner said. “All of our students are great and work really hard. It’s up to the individual. If you don’t have students who are self-motivated then you are just wasting your time.”
Williams said to prepare for the competitions, he reads a lot of books and keeps up with current events.
“I try to stay apprised to the current events. I read the New York Times and other publications and websites,” Williams said.
To be a member of the Academic Team and be successful, Williams gave credit to the support he has from his family, especially his sister Katie, who is a freshman at Clinton County High School.
“It’s indispensable … my parents and my sister especially,” Williams said. “Mrs. Kathy, our coach … I mean without their support, none of this could happen.”
Conner added that she thinks the parents are first and foremost because there has to be someone to take the students to and from practice, since the Academic Team is an after school extra curricular activity.
“It really means a lot to have that person sitting in the crowd,” Conner said. “They can’t say anything, but you know they are cheering you on. Katie is always there. She attends every competition and she is ready with her camera … That’s the good thing. I think she is as proud of Jacob as his mother and dad is.”
Williams said history is one of his favorite subjects and he has had a lot of help from his Advanced Placement (AP) teachers. Stacy Evans and Lucas Dalton.
“I would like to thank them for helping me to love history,” Williams said. “As Mrs. Evans and Mr. Dalton have said, those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat their mistakes. I’m just trying to take that to heart and learn from that.”
Williams plans to attend the University of Kentucky after high school and major in economics. He said a mix of math and history and working inside the government is something he looks forward to doing.
“I would get to work in government and help people, so that’s why I like it,” Williams said.
Williams recently competed in a history competition at Western Kentucky University and other than competing in academic competitions, he is also a member of the Chess Club and the Archery team.
“For the second year in a row I placed second, but last year I placed second in World History and this year I place second in U.S. History,” Williams said.
Williams also said he would like to thank Mr. Sheldon Harlan, CCHS Principal and Superintendant Charlotte Bernard for their support for the Academic Team.
The Academic Team has district competitions, as well as regional competitions. Clinton County is in a district with Cumberland County, Monroe County and Metcalfe County.
“You have to win through each competition before you can pass on,” Conner said. “The Quick Recall is a lot like Jeopardy. You have five seconds to answer a question. If you miss it then it goes on to the opposite team and they have five seconds.”
Conner said many of the individual categories are competed on with a written test comprised of 50 questions and 10 tie-breaker questions. Each student has 50 minutes to complete the test.
“The questions are tough,” Conner said. “They are not easy questions. They are very, very hard.”
The Clinton County High School Academic Team is composed of Emily Bertram, Dustin Daley, David Pierce, Williams, Jennifer Covey, Troy Butler, Brooke Wright, Chandra Tallent, Mildred Dominguez, Carley Miller, Tiler Cross, Taylor Albertson, Levi Neathery, and Zach Garmon.
In the district competition, Daley finished third in mathematics, Williams and Pierce finished first and third respectively, Daley finished first in Science, as well as Williams who placed second, Covey finished first in language arts, Butler, Covey and Wright finished first, second and fourth respectively and Tallent, Dominguez and Bertram finished first, third and fourth in arts and humanities respectively.
The Future Problem Solving team placed first at the District Governor’s Cup and the Quick Recall team placed second. The Clinton County team had the overall first place standing in the district this year.