The team from Houston High School tied for top honors overall and took first place in Division II of the 36th annual Interscholastic Contest March at Missouri State University-West Plains. Team members included, front row, from left: Ari Frisbee, Hanna Huffman, Lily Johnson, Miah Bressie, Katelyn Edwards, Stone Jackson, Andrew Durham, Lily Scheliga, Emily Honeycutt, Alexandria Benoist and Kendal Johnson. Middle row: Ashlynn Burns, Clarissa Hulse, Kristen Ely, Daniel Eastman, Lena Skaggs, Aiden Kelly, Olivia Crites, Ben Cook and Tyler Lawson. Back row: Brody Adkison, Caden Phillips and Bailey Bay. (MSU-WP Photo)

Teams from Willard and Houston High Schools took top honors in the 36th annual Interscholastic Contest March 31 at Missouri State University-West Plains.

Organized by the university’s Public Affairs Committee, the day-long academic event drew nearly 300 students from 14 area schools in southern Missouri.

Teams from six high schools competed for the first time in the event. They included Clearwater, Clever, Gainesville, Marshfield, Waynesville and Willard.

Returning high school teams included Houston, Mountain View-Birch Tree Liberty, Mountain Grove, Oregon-Howell R-3 (Koshkonong), Thayer, West Plains, Willow Springs and Winona.

The competition tested the students’ knowledge in a variety of subject areas ranging from agriculture, science and math to speech, history and English.

Teams competed in three divisions based on school size, with first, second and third place winners announced in each division. First place winners overall also were named.

The Willard and Houston teams tied for first place in the overall competition. The placing gives them co-ownership of the coveted grand trophy that is awarded to the overall first place winner each year.

Ana Estrella, Public Affairs Committee chair and coordinator of the event, said the overall competition winner is determined by a point system based on student scores irrespective of division.

Division winners were:

• Division I: Willard, first place; West Plains second; and Marshfield third

• Division II: Houston, first place;. Thayer, second; and Willow Springs, third.

• Division II: Koshkonong, first place; and Winona, second. 

Five schools competed in Division I, seven in Division II and two in Division III.

 “The Interscholastic Contest is one of the most important academic events of the year,” Estrella said. “The best students of the region met here not just to demonstrate their academic capacities, but to celebrate them and connect with new people.

 “Personally, I have no way to express my gratitude to everyone who collaborated on the event, especially the Public Affairs Committee members,” she added. “It was beautiful to see how we all, Student Ambassadors, staff, faculty and administrators came together as one body to show our guests what our campus community has to offer.”

For more information about the Interscholastic Contest and how to participate next year, contact Estrella at or 417-255-7710.

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