CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A Ray High School junior has broken a United States academic decathlon record.
Evan Hsiang is only the second person in history to score more than 9,700 points out of 10,000 in the academic decathlon in its 53-year history.
Hsiang's score was the highest in Texas and in the regional competition. He broke the regional record 3 years in a row beginning with his freshman year.
“I love economics because it’s about the everyday choices we make without really thinking about it," Hsiang said. "Economics really puts just everything in our daily lives into perspective."
His coaches praise Hsiang's versatility in the competition.
“He’s a jack of all trades, anything he decides to do he is going to do it at an excellent level,” said Lorinda Hamilton, Ray's academic decathlon coach.
Hsiang is also active in National Speech and Debate Association and Texas Forensics Association where he was recognized as an Academic All-American this year.
Hsiang said the academic decathlon isn’t just about learning, but growing as a person.
“We are working together as a team because it’s a team competition," Hsiang said. "And at the end of the day, you need everyone to succeed."
Hsiang said studying on his own is part of the reason why he is done so well in the competitions but also learning how to work well with others.
“For me, I think it symbolizes my personal growth and my ability to speak has improved since I have started academic decathlon," he said. "I think overall I am more confident in being able to express my thoughts."
Hamilton said he is ranked number one in his class. His work is being examined and scored by outside examiners., she said.
“Which means he is doing an international, the standards of the international baccalaureate. But the student's work is being examined,” said Hamilton.
Hsiang's father has been impressed with the development of his son.
“He really engages," said Jim Hsiang, Evan's father. "And like Ms. Hamilton says commits himself 100% to any competition or any activity he goes for."
Hsiang said the majority of his team is leaving this year and he will miss their support.
“Decathlon is a team competition and so inevitably your teammates become your friends," he said. "I am very thankful for all that they have done throughout the last 3 years really."
Hsiang placed first in the Region Texas Citizens Bee. He will represent the local region of the Texas Bar at the station competition on May 18.