Palm Desert High School Scholars have won the local competition in 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2022.

The Palm Desert High School Academic WorldQuest team — a team of scholars — scored third in the National Academic WorldQuest Competition in Washington D.C., on April 30.

This is the highest position ever that a team from the Coachella Valley has earned. The team of Britney Baez, Jennifer DeLeon, Shafaa Munjal, and Joseph Lehma won the local competition earlier in the year competing against valley high schools. Their coach is PDHS teacher Patricia Lizza. Each of the students received a $200 scholarship and a trip to the nation’s capital to represent the Valley.

At the national level teams from 27 states participated. This was a special edition of WACA’s flagship education program—the 20th anniversary of the national competition. In addition to the 36 teams participating at the United States Institute of Peace’s headquarters in the District of Columbia, six teams took part virtually.

The 100-point contest tests knowledge of world affairs in ten topic categories. One topic was climate change and immigration with speakers from the Mexican Embassy in D.C. speaking to the students. First place went to Keystone School in San Antonio Texas; second place went to Plano West High School in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; with a third-place win to the Valley’s own Palm Desert High School. Academic WorldQuest National Competition USIP President Lise Grande was a keynote speaker and Director of the International Labour Organization Office for the U.S. and Canada Kevin Cassidy made opening remarks.

The PDHS team has won the local competition in 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2022. In 2016 and 2021 they placed second. The 2020 competition was not held due to the pandemic. Nationally, in addition to this year’s third place win, in 2021 they placed 10th out of a field of 103 teams and in 2018 they placed second out of 48 teams in a tiebreaker round.

Additional information on Academic WorldQuest can be found by clicking here.