Academic Decathlon team loses advisors, future looks bleak

— The Cazenovia High School Academic Decathlon Team, which has a national reputation as a competitive opponent, has been struggling to stay viable for the 2013-14 school year in a fiscally austere environment; but on top of the funding uncertainty facing the team in recent months, a new problem has emerged — the loss of both team advisors.

Both of the AD team’s faculty advisors, Marty Kelly and Christie Brenneck, resigned their positions in June for personal reasons, district Superintendent Bob Dubik announced at the board of education’s July 9 regular meeting. Neither resignation was stated to be because of the AD team’s uncertain funding situation, Dubik said.

The high school administration posted an announcement seeking a new advisor on Thursday, July 10, but if no one steps forward to take over the job, the existence of the AD team may be in jeopardy.

This is the latest bad news for a team — and an extracurricular activity — that is a source of pride for the Cazenovia Central School District. The Cazenovia High School AD team has been a powerhouse in New York state, advancing to nationals eight of the last nine years. This year the team placed seventh in its division and 36th out of 53 national teams, with three members bringing home individual medals and awards.

This year’s success came at a cost, however, when the team realized only weeks before nationals that it did not have enough funding to travel to the competition in Minneapolis, Minn., and spent one month organizing and holding multiple fundraisers to pay their way. They raised the money, but at the price of great stress on the students to keep up with their regular studies, their AD team practices, other extracurricular activities they were involved in and the fundraising itself, Kelly told the school board at its May meeting.

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