MILTON — King Middle School prides itself on making its students the “king of the hill” in reading, writing, math, science, and technology. But the Academic Team takes this initiative to the next level, according to their club members.

Carol Spice, Academic Intervention Specialist at KMS and club sponsor, said the students work very hard, staying late at school to practice and getting up early on Saturday mornings to compete.

"I am so very proud of these students," Spice said. "They have persevered through some very tough competitions, not just sticking with it but showing great sportsmanship as well ... their dedication is exemplary. I am pleased to say they are some of our future leaders!”

Spice said it was through their determination that they were able to qualify to compete in the national competition this May in Chicago.

Qualifying for the competition will be 8th graders Amber Lowery, Destini Ard, Christina Carpenter, Mathew Josephs, Gabriel Josephs, Eli Schatz and 6th grader Abigail Crosby. 

Carpenter said being on the team was a fun experience.

"It's really exciting and you will learn a lot of amazing information," Carpenter said.

Crosby, who will continue with the team after her fellow members move on to high school, said she feels like she will carry on the torch.

"It feels more like an honor than it does a burden," she said. 

Club coach Chris Early said the team has excelled in competitions in recent months.

"We have gone from earning -5 points to 380 points in competitions," he said.

Early said King Middle School is one of the only schools in the county that has an academic team. He said he is in talks with Milton High School to form an academic team so students can continue the experience once they leave middle school.

"They all have to have somewhere to go," he said. "They can't end here."

King Middle Academic Team will compete on March 9 at the Bull Dog Invitational at Marianna High School.