Morgan Park Academy’s Academic Challenge team began its postseason push with high scores across all categories in regional competition in February 2021.

Competing in biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering graphics, English, math, and physics, MPA’s 20-person team not only won more than a dozen individual medals against schools its own size, but achieved high test scores regardless of school size.

Teaming up to advance to March sectionals were:

  • seniors Emmett Campbell, Andrew DeLaney, Sabrina Eng, Charles Hendon, Frank Li, Brycen Worsham, and Wayne Zhang;
  • juniors Tiffany Chen, Celia Echols, Dylan Hagan, Maanav Kaistha, and Merlin Mo;
  • sophomores Orla Desmond, Selena Eng, Michaela Olimene, Oriella Ortiz, Arnav Paluri, Shawn Shi, and Joshua Sun; and
  • freshman Morgan Yancey.


The Academic Challenge is a competitive series of tests created by a team of academic experts and previously administered by the Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE) program in the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Headquartered now at Eastern Illinois University, the competition has offered challenging annual exams to Illinois high school students for local, regional, and statewide competition since 1975.

Morgan Park Academy’s team has a 30-year history of top-level success in state competition, including Illinois Division 300 championships in 1997 and 2012.

Recent state medalists include top-5 finishers Jeffrey Eichinger in 2015; Tony Tang and Adam Wu in 2018; and Tony, Merlin, Bryan Coronado, Ethan Deng, and Will Wei in 2019; and Merlin in 2020.