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Cedar Crest High School Named PA State Academic Competition Champion

Lebanon County’s Cedar Crest High School rose to the top at this year’s PA State Academic Competition on Friday, April 28, 2023, when 19 academic teams representing Pennsylvania competed for the title of Pennsylvania State Academic Competition Champion. In the exciting and competitive daylong competition, it was Cedar Crest High School that placed first with 110 points in the championship match. Wissahickon High School of Montgomery County came in second, and Chester County’s regional champion, West Chester East High School placed third. Cedar Crest High School was presented with a $2,000 scholarship; Wissahickon was awarded a $500 scholarship for second place and West Chester East received a $500 scholarship for third place. 

Now in its 32nd year, the PA State Academic Competition is hosted by Representative John A. Lawrence of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, sponsored by the Pennsylvania State Education Association and coordinated by the Chester County Intermediate Unit. 

When asked how it felt to be named Pennsylvania State Academic Competition champion, Shane Thomas, coach of the Cedar Crest High School’s varsity team said, “It feels amazing. It’s really hard to get here, and we don’t get to come here a lot, so to be able to be here and to actually take home first place is awesome. It’s really awesome,” Thomas continued, “We come from an intermediate unit that represents excellent teams year in and year out. Manheim Towniship has been a roadblock for us for years, and this year we finally beat them in our regional championship. I am really proud of my team, and for everyone stepping up in their particular role. To them, it’s never been about each individual player, it’s always been about the team,” concluded Thomas. 

For an academic team to advance to the PA State Academic Competition and represent their county, the team must compete and win against the academic competition teams in their county’s regional competition.  

Cedar Crest High School and Manheim Township High School both represent Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit. As defending state champions, Manheim Township had an automatic invitation to compete in this year’s state competition. Manheim was defeated by Wissahickon High School in the semi-final compeition.  

Danny Peelen, captain of Cedar Crest High School’s academic team, said, “During my freshman year, I vividly remember telling the team that this was something we had the potential to do. It’s really exciting that this is a moment we have all been talking about for years. It also helps that we have all been friends for so long.”  

The Pennsylvania State Academic Competition took place at the State Capitol Building for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The mission of the competition is to promote lifelong learning, celebrate academic achievement and enhance self-confidence as members of a team by providing healthy yet challenging opportunities for high school students to develop both academic, social and personal skills.  

For a list of competing teams and the final scores, please visit