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Academic decathlon team off to nationals in Minnesota

Eleventh hour donations put fundraising over the top

The Cazenovia High School Academic decathlon Team, along with advisors Marty Kelly and Christie Brennock, accept the $1,000 donation from the Cazenovia Lions Club, presented by Allan Youngs, front left.

The Cazenovia High School Academic decathlon Team, along with advisors Marty Kelly and Christie Brennock, accept the $1,000 donation from the Cazenovia Lions Club, presented by Allan Youngs, front left. Photo by Jason Emerson.

— The Cazenovia High School Academic Decathlon Team will be able to travel to Minnesota to compete in the national AD competition this week, thanks to their own effective fundraising work and numerous donations from local residents, but especially because of two major donations received last week from two community groups.

The Cazenovia United Teacher’s Union and the Cazenovia Lions Club both came forward Friday, April 19, with large donations without which the team would have been unable to afford attendance at the competition. These gifts, plus the team’s final raffle fundraiser Saturday, April 20, put the students over the top of their fundraising goal, allowing them to travel to Minneapolis to compete.

“It was so great the community stepped up — at first it seemed like a daunting task,” said AD team advisor Marty Kelly.

The Cazenovia High School AD Team won the New York state AD title on March 16 — the eighth time in nine years they had done so — however, when they returned home from that competition they learned the school district did not have the funds to pay for the trip to the national competition in Minnesota. While the district had sponsored the airfare and hotel costs for the team’s previous seven trips, this year’s finances were too tight.

The team needed to raise $6,500 for airfare, hotel, shuttle service and some meals, Kelly said. The district would pay for the two team advisors, Kelly and Christie Brennock, to go as chaperones.

For the past month, the AD team has been holding numerous fundraising events in order to raise the necessary money to compete at nationals. Through these fundraisers and numerous donations from local residents, the team had raised about enough for airfare, but not enough to cover hotel or any other costs.

Last week, the Cazenovia United Teacher’s Union donated $2,000 to cover the students’ hotel rooms, while the Cazenovia Lions Club donated $1,000 to the team’s general travel fund.

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