Savannah Mudd has the benefit of a broad perspective.
The PAHS junior was born in London to an economics professor father and a micro-finance consultant mother and lived in Russia, Georgia, and Arizona before her brainy family (Mudd has a younger brother who’s a freshman at the high school) settled in the Phoenixville area when she was in third grade.
Arizona’s loss was the Phoenixville Academic Team’s gain.
In November, Mudd, 16, led the group to a sixth place finish in the preliminary round of the National Academic Quiz Tournament and a berth in the organization’s May national championship in Atlanta, Georgia.
Last month from the office of PAHS, Mudd explained that what separates a national championship caliber academic team from a merely good one isn’t just a knowledge of conventional subject areas, but a head for trivia.
“Well, there was this one question,” Mudd began, trying to explain how an academic bowl works to a reporter who’d never been invited to one.
“’Alexander the Great sacked this city...’ and there was more to it than that, but I jumped in right away with ‘Thebes.’”
She was, of course, correct.
Mudd said her strongest areas in the competition are literature and “random things like world capitals,” but when pressed a little, she admitted that her expertise stretches a bit further.
She’s never gotten a B
Compared to the rigors of the academic bowls, Mudd admits the school work in her classes is, if not a breeze, maybe a light gust.
“I’ve never gotten a B,” she said, before clarifying that she’s “gotten one on a test, but overall, [as a grade for a class], never.”
She said her goal in every course is to get a 95 or better and she has only fallen short once—in an AP Chemistry class where she managed just a 94.
Mudd has ambition to match her talent. In college, she says she plans to pursue a double major in English and International Relations and a minor in “perhaps Russian or French” before law school and a career in human rights work.
The 16-year-old already a jump start looking out for the interests of the historically slighted, as she co-founded and serves as president of the PAHS Gay-Straight Alliance.
Last year she “organized an assembly where gay, lesbian, and transgendered” people came to the school to share their experiences with the student body.
Mudd is also helping put together the forthcoming PAHS mini-THON—a scaled down, student-run take on Penn State’s THON—and is a member of the National Honor Society, the Model UN, and possibly more.
“I feel like there’s something else. I always forget one club when I’m going through them,” she laughed.
Suffice it to say, she doesn’t forget much.