• Academic Decathlon highlighted at board meeting

    acdecBellefonte 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