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Officials reviewing results of academic contest

March 29, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Washington County Public Schools officials are reviewing the results of Saturday's academic team competition after representatives from one of the high schools challenged the results, according to Donna Hanlin, assistant superintendent for secondary instruction.

Hancock Middle-Senior High School was announced as the winner at the end of the competition, but the Smithsburg High School team has challenged the results, saying its members answered a question correctly that was scored as an incorrect answer.

Hanlin said she was unsure if changing that score would make Smithsburg the winners of the competition.

Teams of students from each high school competed in the academic challenge, which is a competition similar to the "It's Academic" television program. More than $4,000 in scholarships were at stake, which will be awarded to the first-place school and the runners-up, according to a written news release.

"We are in the process of reviewing the details," Hanlin said. "Reviewing the rules of the competition and scheduling a meeting to talk face-to-face with coaches."

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Hanlin said officials are looking for a fair solution.

Linda Ruppenthal is the coach for Hancock Middle-Senior High School, and declined to discuss the issue Tuesday until it was resolved.

Smithsburg High School Principal Melvin Whitfield said he knew that an academic adviser at his school had asked for the reconsideration of one question, regarding electoral college votes, but said he did not know enough to comment further.

One proposed solution, Hanlin said, is announcing the schools as co-winners.

"No decision has been made," she said. "We want the fair thing for students, but we also have to consider the rules of the competition. Ultimately, it's based on what's right for students."

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