Coaches > Kristin Caperton Inspiration Award

Kristin Caperton Inspiration Award

2022 Kristin Caperton award winner Levi Seymour with his coaches James Newman (left) and Randall Winter. (right)


2022 Kristin Caperton award winner Logan Williams and his coach Tringle Witt.

Does your team include a decathlete who has overcome great challenges and has inspired others?   See below how the USAD "village" can honor those accomplishments.

The Kristin Caperton Inspiration Award was created by the United States Academic Decathlon Board of Directors to honor a Founding Board member who demonstrated great dedication and commitment in the 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 demonstrates a high degree of dedication, strength of character, team leadership, perseverance and commitment while overcoming significant obstacles or unusual circumstances to participate in the United States Academic Decathlon. The Board welcomes nominations from USAD coaches during the course of each competition year, and appropriate public recognition will be determined for the most deserving nominees.

During the competition's first four years, Kristin Caperton successfully obtained the financial backing required by "selling tables" to the banquet from her hospital bed. A life-threatening diagnosis of leukemia and diabetes did not deter her from providing the greatly needed support. The award has attained added significance in recognition of the inspirational nominees and individual recipients of this honor.

Often the winner of the Caperton Award has been an important catalyst in her or his team's strong performance during the USAD competition. Some winners have successes in USAD despite significant physical and/or emotional challenges.  Meeting these courageous students who have overcome blindness, deafness, and debilitating or terminal illnesses, has been an inspirational aspect of the competition.  The first recipient set a high standard. An alternate on the Louisiana team, he walked door to door to raise money for his teammates to travel to Nationals---in a full body cast on crutches! Some examples of previous winners include the following:

1. A blind decathlete successfully competed and, in the process, pioneered techniques allowing other students to do so.

2. A student with Stage 3 Hodgkin's Lymphoma disease remained devoted to the USAD while undergoing aggressive chemotherapy.

3. Both winners one year were foster children, and both were feted at the banquet thanks to the coach providing transportation.

4. Despite severe visual problems from juvenile macular degeneration, a student was the highest scorer overall in the small school honor category.

5. A disadvantaged decathlete overcame homelessness, abuse, neglect, and life-threatening medical problems to become the rock of his team. He expressed his joy by doing cartwheels in the hotel lobby.

6. Even with a pathological speech disorder, a participant was selected for speech showcase.  She presented the award to another Caperton winner in a subsequent year with a flawless delivery.  She is now a lawyer with the Department of Education's disability unit.


Recipient:  Levi Seymour, Irving HS, Texas
Coaches:  James Newman and Randall Winter
If it weren’t for Academic Decathlon, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. 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. My English teacher was the one who recommended to my school’s Ac Dec coaches that I join the team. They met with me one day towards the end of the semester and were extremely kind to me. I eventually joined the team, and I found a place where I not only fit in, but belonged. 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.

Recipient:  Logan Williams, Shelley HS, Idaho
Coach: Tringle Witt
Throughout all of my life, I used to think that having autism slowed me down and made me not as strong or talented as all the other people around me. But as I’ve grown up and been faced with challenges that only grow greater as I age, I now know that despite my disability, I am still capable of achieving amazing things and overcoming all of the trials that afflict me. Being in AcaDeca has helped me realize that and helped me understand that anyone with a physical or mental disability can participate in AcaDeca and heavily benefit from it. As a result of participating in AcaDeca, my intelligence and creativity have increased, and I have made new friends that care for me and love me. I have no regrets being a member of the AcaDeca team and I have been blessed because I joined AcaDeca. I thank my amazing AcaDeca teachers and the USAD for nominating me for this award, I thank all of my friends on and outside the AcaDeca team for always being there for me and loving me, and I thank my parents for letting me join the AcaDeca team and helping me become a better person.

In addition to the prestige, the award includes a plaque and $1,500 from the USAD Board of Directors. To nominate a decathlete, coaches should complete a nomination form by clicking on the link below and submitting that form to by the deadline.

Kristin-Caperton-1.jpg Suzanne-2.jpg
Kristin Caperton                        Suzanne Roberts
Founder, USAD                         Founder, USAD
                                                  Creator of the Kristin Caperton Inspiration Award