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Trickum Middle takes home national honor

LILBURN -- There are some sharp students at Trickum Middle School.

The school's academic team recently placed first in the 2012 Junior National Academic Championship Tournament. The group of six Trickum students came out on top after defeating 47 other teams from across the country.

Made up of students Brent Bessemer, Keaton Law, Jordan Rice, Julie Wang, Jason Fan and Ansel Ahabue, the group qualified for the national tournament by winning first place at the Georgia Academic Team Association state finals and placing second in the Professional Association of Georgia Educators-sponsored state finals during the school year.

Academic Team competitions resemble the game show, "Jeopardy," only they are played as teams. Questions cover geography, science, math, language arts, art, history, music, literature, sports, spelling and current events.

Forty-seven middle and junior high schools throughout the country competed simultaneously in Washington D.C., Chicago and New Orleans. Because Trickum Middle finished undefeated throughout the entire three-day tournament and no competitor at any of the other competitions had a higher record, the Trickum team was crowned the national champion.

Principal Kay Sands said the school was "thrilled over our state academic championship, but ecstatic about the (national title). These students have been together through all their middle school years, and they've developed a wonderful sense of team through traveling and sheer competition."

It's the 14th year that Trickum Middle has had an academic team competing.

During the September Gwinnett County Public Schools board of education meeting, Sands and teacher-coaches Linda LaPerre and Cary Sell introduced the student champions to board members.