Academic Decathlon team raising money to attend national championships

— The Cazenovia Lions Club last week presented a $500 check to the Cazenovia High School Academic Decathlon team to help them raise the necessary funds to travel to Hawaii for the national championships in late April.

Lions Club member John Dermody, who presented the check to the team on March 21, praised the team members for their achievements and self-motivation. “We are so proud of you,” he said.

“We wish we could go with you,” said Lions Club member Tom Long to a burst of laughter.

“We hear that a lot,” replied AD team member Danielle Axelson.

Axelson said the team is “in a really good place” in their fundraising efforts. Team members have been holding fundraisers and seeking private sponsors since school began last year, and the team currently has about $10,000 in the bank.

Recently, an anonymous donor pledged $3,000 to the team’s efforts if the community will match the amount. The team has already matched $1,100, and is working towards the rest, Axelson said. They also are planning their annual Mother’s Day gift basket fundraiser, which will consist of dinner, gift basket drawings and AD team members giving their competition speeches. The dinner, tentatively scheduled for Sunday, April 13, will cost $10 per person for admission.

“We’re very excited right now, and, just as they have been doing all year, the kids are spearheading the fundraising efforts — the kids really run the team and I am just a facilitator,” said AD team coach Ben Wightman. “I’m optimistic we’ll make our [fundraising] goal. The community has been very supportive of us.”

To donate to the Academic Decathlon team, checks made be made out to the Cazenovia Central School District with “Academic Decathlon” written on the memo line. Checks can be mailed or dropped off at the district business office at 31 Emory Ave.

The Cazenovia High School Academic Decathlon team — made up of members Brock Houghton, Katherine Boone, Joe Mevec, Riley Lloyd, Danielle Axelson, Emma Dudley, Chase Matteson, Piper McKinnon, Lars Ohlsen, Bob Louis, and Remi Boissonnas — won the sectional championship on Jan. 25 and the state championship on Feb. 28 and March 1. If they can raise the travel funds they need, they will compete at the national championship in Hawaii April 24 to 26.

Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at editor@cazenoviarepublican.com.

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