For the sixth year in a row, the Falcons are the Manatee County Academic Challenge team champions. Saint Stephen’s clinched the title on Dec. 10 at home in the final meet of the season. Two Falcons – senior Kassandra Haakman and junior Adriana Vidal – also qualified to represent the county on the six-member team headed for state competition in the spring. The annual Academic Challenge pits teams of four students each from public and private schools in Manatee County in competition against each other in a series of evening meets. The teams score points by accurately answering questions on a wide variety of topics – math, science, literature, art, history, pop culture and more. SSES has dominated area competition in recent years and sent multiple representatives to the state level. The Manatee County team – featuring five Saint Stephen’s students and one from Lakewood Ranch High – last won the state championship in 2016.
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