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Gifted students from Augusta Ranch Elementary participate in academic competition

Gold celebrating the best of GPS!

A collage of three photos showing Augusta Ranch students smiling and posing with their certificates from the competition.Six gifted students from Augusta Ranch Elementary have qualified for a national academic competition, after successfully performing at a regional event in Phoenix. Congratulations to the fourth through sixth graders, who were led by their teacher, Molly Koceja! 

“It was such an exciting day and so much fun to watch! They made a great name for Augusta Ranch Elementary,” she said. 

The students were allowed to participate in the International Academic Competitions after taking a qualifying exam. Students could then choose to compete in history, geography, or science events. 

“They could participate in as many (competitions) as they qualified for,” Koceja said.

One of her students, Alice Stoddard, competed in all three events. 

“She was such a good sport, because she was there all day long,” Koceja said.

Students prepared for the competition by using extra time in class and getting the support of their families at home. On competition day, they were broken up into their own events and divided up by grade levels. Each group answered quiz-style questions, where students would have to buzz in with the correct answer to get a point. There were a total of 30 questions and three rounds.

“It was pretty intense,” Koceja said.

All of the students from Augusta Ranch earned first, second, or third place rankings. This has qualified them to compete at the national event in Arlington, Virginia in June. Alex Arnett, a fifth grade student, has committed to taking the trip. He will compete in the geography competition and represent his school.

“He knows all the countries and all the capitals. He is amazing! I’m so excited for him. He’s going to do so well,” Koceja said. 

Koceja plans on extending the opportunity for her students next school year to participate in the competition. 

“It’s important that these gifted kids are challenged. I mean they can do amazing things. They can change the world,” she said.

The students who participated in the competition this year are:

Jace Martin, 6th grade
Alice Stoddard, 5th grade
Alex Arnett, 5th grade
Owen McDowell, 5th grade
Archer Phelps, 5th grade
Elise Casaday, 4th grade


To learn more about Augusta Ranch Elementary and the Gifted program, schedule a school tour or enroll today!

Written by Kailey Latham