Academic Decathlon highlighted at board meeting
Bellefonte Area High School senior Ella Underwood joined Academic Decathlon in her junior year after a friend convinced her to, while attempting to help grow the program. On Feb. 22, she was able to speak to the nine-member board of school directors about the team with teacher and club coach Kat Momenzadeh, while also highlighting just how excited she’s been to use knowledge learned in the classroom and put it to use in an outside setting.
“Our team is one of the most supportive and enthusiastic groups of individuals I know, and consider myself proud to be a part of the team,” Underwood said. “I love being able to encourage others and watch my teammates’ faces as they win medals and trophies. My favorite memory will always be the moment when we found out we were going to states.”
Academic Decathlon is a competitive test team that competes against other students from different schools on a variety of topics including literature, economics, science, art, music, math and more. Students must also work to be proficient with writing, research and communication skills.
Momenzadeh said that this year, the topic they studied was about water, which allowed them to better understand its impact with the sciences, such as learning about marine biology and water conservation, while the literature aspect was focused on the book “The Sea-Wolf,” by Jack London. Music and arts highlighted water as both the subject and medium, she added.
“It was such broad content,” Momenzadeh said, adding that her students have diversified understanding of the topic through studying material from ancient culture around Mesopotamia and the Nile River to incorporating current events, such as the garbage patches reportedly occupying oceans.
“These kids are killing it and doing so well,” Momenzadeh said enthusiastically.
This year, the team made it to the state competition for the first time in more than 10 years.
*By Brit Milazzo, public relations director, BASD
More board meeting information
*To see more board notes, please visit this link: Board notes
- Act 158 presentation with Bellefonte Area High School Principal Mike Fedisson
- Approval of appointments
- Sharon Kolivoski as special education teacher at Marion-Walker Elementary School
- Francoise Molenaar as second-shift custodian at Bellefonte Area High School
- Approval of various donations totaling $7,000
- Approval of proposed calendar for the 2022-23 school year
- Approval of volunteers
- Junior high lacrosse as a club sport for spring 2022 season
- Legislative report with board member Donna Smith
- Policy presentation with board member Julie Fitzgerald. Supporting documents can be found in the meeting agenda and minutes
- President’s report with board President Jeff Steiner, which also included information about the district’s DEI initiative
- Report in regard to Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology with board members Jack Bechdel and Kim Weaver
- Retirement of Barbara Potter from the position of van driver, effective April 5. Potter has been with the district since January 2001.
- Technology update with Director of Technology Eric Funk and Instructional Technology Specialist Arlin Roth
- Superintendent’s report with Tammie Burnaford
- Treasurer’s report