School Honors Classmates Who Won National Academic Pentathlon Championship

STOCKTON -- The entire student body at Rio Calaveras Elementary in Stockton chanted praise of the smartest kids in school Thursday.

On the last day before summer break, 17 students were honored by their school, for bringing back the gold from the National Academic Pentathlon tournament in Minneapolis. Tricky math, literature, history, fine arts and science questions were no match for these students.

"Science was very difficult because the subject was really hard. But I studied hard and I did really well," student and champion pentathlete Jacqueline Serabia said.

After they announced that the 7th graders got first in their division, there was another surprise. The 8th graders here at Rio Calaveras were also crowned national champions in their division. That's two teams from the same school, becoming national champions.

For the impressive achievements, each student was surprised by a proclamation from Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, free ice cream Sky Zone passes and even a $250 academic scholarship provided by the Spanos family.

"They're our best and brightest. And they are Stockton. So I'm incredibly proud and incredibly excited," Mayor Tubbs said. "But we're not surprised. We have brilliant, resilient, hard working students so I'm glad we have the opportunity to show the world just how brilliant they are."

For Serabia, 13, Thursday is also her 8th grade promotion. What's next? Possibly joining the academic decathlon in high school. But for now, she says she will enjoy this moment with her teammates.

"Today, I feel like all my hard work has finally paid off," she said.