Last week was a big week for Irving High School’s Levi Seymour. On Friday, he graduated from Irving High with magna cum laude honors, four days after being recognized with a prestigious, national academic decathlon award. 

The graduating senior was presented with the Kristen Caperton Inspiration Award and a $1,500 scholarship at the Irving ISD school board meeting last Monday. Created by the US Academic Decathlon (USAD) Board of Directors, the award honors a founding board member who demonstrated great dedication and commitment to academic decathlon, even during the final, difficult years of her life. 

This award is presented to student decathletes at any level or category of competition who display a high degree of dedication, strength of character, team leadership, perseverance and commitment while overcoming significant obstacles or unusual circumstances to participate in academic decathlon.

“If it weren’t for academic decathlon, I wouldn’t be the person I am today,” says Seymour. “After experiencing great adversity in my childhood, I had moved to a brand-new city with a brand new family who had rescued me from my hardship and went to a brand new school. I had no idea who the people around me were, or even who I was. I felt more lost than ever.”

After a recommendation from his English teacher, Seymour joined the Irving High School academic decathlon team. 

“I found a place where I not only fit in, but belonged,” he says. “Academic decathlon is what let me find my place in the world and have a lot of fun doing it. My participation on the team helped me regain confidence in myself and my abilities, prepared me for the future and allowed me to experience a wide variety of different perspectives that shaped the way I am now. I am a better person than I was three years ago, and it’s all thanks to my coaches and the people who are my friends first and teammates second.”

The USAD board welcomes nominations from academic decathlon coaches during the course of each competition year, and the appropriate public recognition is determined for the most deserving nominees.

On hand to present the award were USAD Board Member Robert Brezina and Texas Academic Decathlon Director Rick Hopkins.