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Academic Decathlon team find advisors, continue fundraising

— The district said last June it could not change the policy to pay for the team’s estimated $16,000 in costs if it reaches the nationals in Hawaii this year. Shortly after that, both of the AD team’s faculty advisors, Kelly and Christie Brenneck, resigned their positions. The district then put out multiple calls to staff to find new advisors, but nobody volunteered to take over.

During this past summer, CHS senior and team co-captain Danielle Axelson worked diligently to raise the necessary funds by meeting with private individuals asking for team funding through sponsorships. Her mother, Barb Axelson, also volunteered to be a team coach. Barb Axelson had no experience as an AD coach, however, and the team “really wanted another coach,” especially one with some AD experience, so, at the suggestion of Kelly, the team reached out to Wightman once the school year begin this fall, said Danielle Axelson.

“It’s nice to be back. I’ve never been a coach but I understand much of it. A lot of [the work] is [the team] doing it themselves — this team has very strong leadership,” Wightman said.

Even while the search for coaches was ongoing, the AD team had received their yearly competition supplies and started meeting and practicing, Danielle Axelson said. They even had a huge amount of student interest in team membership in September, with about 20 students attending the first meeting, and a final team roster of 12 students, she said.

This year’s topic is World War I, and part of the preparation is that the team members must all read the novel, “The Sun Also Rises,” by Ernest Hemingway.

“We’re very thrilled. It’s a lot more interesting than [the subject of Russia] last year,” Axelson said. “I think the competition is going to be very tough this year.”

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