[Taft] senior Daniel Berdichevsky, 17, also claimed the tournament's highest individual accolade, earning the top overall score and a $5,000 scholarship.
This was Taft's second national championship. The school's team took home a first-place prize in 1989 and second-place honors last year. Although Taft is not the first school to walk off with top honors twice, the sweetness of winning the prize for an embattled public school district wasn't lost on the crowd present for the awards ceremony at the Robert Treat Hotel in downtown Newark.
Daniel, who also won four subject medals, hummed "O, Canada." Stephen Shaw, 16, who would take three subject medals, sat motionless, with his hands clasped in his lap. Rebecca Rissman, 17, who won three medals, tried to smile. And Michael Michrowski, 17, who won two medals, rested his face in his palms. Also competing for Taft was Andrew Salter, 17, who took home four subject medals; Chris Huie, 17, with two individual medals; Sage Vaughn, 17, with one medal, and Sheldon Peregrino, 18.