Great Valley edges Unionville to win county academic competition

Will represent Chester Co. in state competition later this month

Great Valley High School will advance to the Pennsylvania State Academic Competition in Harrisburg on April 28.

DOWNINGTOWN — Lord Alfred Tennyson, Pinocchio and the American Civil Liberties Union were just a few of the answers tossed around as Chester County’s top academic teams competed for the title of county champion.

The March 28 championship match featured varsity teams from Conestoga, Great Valley and Unionville high schools and junior varsity teams from Devon Preparatory School, Great Valley High School and West Chester East High School.

After a tough-fought match that, after three rounds of competition lead to a heated tie-breaker match, the Great Valley varsity team left with the trophy, bragging rights and a spot in the Pennsylvania State Academic Competition on April 28. Final score: Great Valley – 140, Unionville – 135, Conestoga – 105.  All three teams received scholarships from the event’s sponsor, the Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union.

In the junior varsity match, West Chester East took home the win, with 130 points to Great Valley’s 115 and Devon’s 90.

Once again, the 2016-17 Chester County Academic Competition season demonstrated the robust academic talent in Chester County schools. After a total of 32 regular season matches, a full day of semifinal matches and one championship match, Great Valley is the last team standing. This will be the first time in the state competition’s 25-year history that Great Valley will have the chance to compete.

“I am excited for my guys; they’ve work hard all year and put in a lot of hours to get here,” said Bernard McCauley, who has coached the Great Valley varsity team since 2012. “I have a really great team and this win is a testament to all of their hard work.”

According to team captain Sam Scarfone, his team felt poised at the start of the match but nerves built toward the end. “Going into the first round, I tried to be as relaxed as possible, but going into the tie-breaker round was really nerve-wracking. It was a tense game!” Though tense, his team kept their cool, utilizing the knowledge and skill they gained through their two to four weekly after-school practices, attendance at state-wide tournaments and meetings outside of school to prepare.

When asked how he plans to celebrate the win, Scarfone showed conviction, stating “We’re going to Harrisburg!”

According to Jennifer Shealy, Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) special events coordinator, starting in October 2016, 24 Chester County high schools began competing against one another in a “college-bowl” format where students answered a wide variety of challenging questions in subject areas including literature, math, science, American and world history, geography and current events. All 24 teams, seeded according to their performance during the regular season, competed in semifinals matches in February to earn the right to compete in the championship match.

“Each year, I am so impressed by the dedication and hard work that all of the students put into the competition,” said Shealy. “This year’s matches were especially exciting to watch and I am proud and excited to have Great Valley representing Chester County at the state competition this April.”

The Chester County Academic competition, now in its 33rd year, is sponsored by Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union, and is coordinated by CCIU. Following the championship match, Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union awarded scholarships to the three varsity teams. Great Valley was awarded $2,000 as the championship team; Unionville was awarded $1,000 for their second place finish; and Conestoga received a $500 scholarship for third place.

For more information on the competition, please visit

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