local one of 12 Americans in academic competition | ParkRecord.com

local one of 12 Americans in academic competition

Frank Fisher, of the Record staff

Patrick Paterson spent much of his junior year studying Chinese culture as a part of Park City High School’s Academic Decathlon team. After being a part of the PCHS strong team showing at Nationals in Hawaii in late April, Paterson was selected as one of 12 Americans for the first International Scholar’s Cup AD competition, held in Seoul Korea, in late May.

"My parents were very excited for me, but they were not excited about the 20 hours a week I studied materials for the competition (in addition to his homework)." After the intense study of the roughly 1,000 pages of materials during the month of May, he made the 12-hour flight to Seoul, scoring four silver medals in the two-day event, held May 26 and 27.

Paterson said there was no overall theme for the event; competitors had to be prepared in five testing areas of economics, science, social science, mathematics and literature. Ancient World History narrowed historical studies, and literature focused on Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, and the history of Central England.

The 200-question multiple-choice test was timed, with competitors having seven seconds to answer each of 100 questions.

He said he struggled most with the science portion, especially with which neurotransmitters the brain uses to stimulate each emotion. But that’s not to say things went badly.

He said that one of his first inclinations after the testing is to look up answers of any questions he might have missed.

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Paterson received one silver medal for literature. He and his two team members from California scored three team silver medals. The two other countries represented in the competition were South Korea and Singapore. The testing was conducted in English.

He said competitors had a chance to visit the Demilitarized Zone, the buffered interface between North and South Korea, which he described as "thought provoking." He said Japanese was a common language in Korea, as a result of the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945 at the end of World War ll.

"The food is interesting," Paterson said, adding "some of it is pretty weird." Patterson, a vegetarian, said many of the Korean dishes contain meat.

He plans to be on the PCHS Academic Decathlon team next year and said, "John Krenkel (the team’s coach) has been my favorite teacher for three years and my AD coach for two. He knows how to prepare us."

Paterson hopes to eventually make International Relations his career. He believes AD has given him a great deal of knowledge and insight into the world, and he has "made friends around the country and around the world." He also hopes that with his involvement in AD, he will receive advanced consideration by colleges.

Patterson’s next goal is to represent the United States in the second Scholar’s Cup, to be held in Singapore next spring. He said the event will be larger, with nine or 10 countries represented. that time he will have an additional year’s worth of knowledge, and, he will know his neurotransmitters.