SHS AcaDeca team claims third at nationals
Members of the Sandpoint High School Academic Decathlon team pose with the banner they received after the team claimed third-place honors at the national competition.
| May 2, 2023 1:00 AM
The Sandpoint High School Academic Decathlon team claimed major honors at the national competition in Texas this weekend.
"THIRD PLACE IN DIVISION II (medium school division)!!!!!!!," adviser Dana Stockman wrote Lake Pend Oreille School District officials while the team was waiting for transportation to the airport to return to Sandpoint. "We're bringing home a trophy and a really big banner!"
The team competed at the USAD National Finals on April 27-29, which were held in-person for the first time since 2019. The event took place in Frisco, Texas. SHS team members completed the essay and three of the seven objective tests online earlier in the month, then completed the speeches, interviews, the other four objective tests and the Super Quiz while in Texas.
Five students won medals in the individual events, Stockman said. Senior Kyla LaFountain, a four-year decathlete, won a silver medal in essay. Junior Priscilla Hester won a silver medal in speech. Sophomore Laurelyn Eastley won a silver medal in literature. Sophomore Carys Perilloux won three silver medals in essay, music, and interview. The most decorated member of the team was junior and co-captain Keane Haesle, who won a bronze medal in social science and silver medals in speech, science, economics, and math. He was the overall bronze medalist in the Honors Division, was the highest scoring member of the team, and was voted most valuable team member by his teammates.
Also competing were sophomore Ellie “Kodo” Klippel, junior Rachel Fedak, and junior Kody Bocksch, who was chosen by his teammates to be the flag bearer for the state of Idaho at the Super Quiz and the awards ceremony.
According to former SHS AcaDeca coach and former IAD State Director Mary Bird, this is not only the best that Sandpoint High School has done at the National Finals, but it is also the highest any school from Idaho has placed at the prestigious national competition. Twenty-seven states sent 54 teams to compete, which is about 485 students, the best and brightest from each state.
“This is a dream come true for us. We are on cloud nine!," Stockman said. "We set a goal way last summer during our summer study sessions to be on the podium when nationals rolled around, and we did it. I’m retiring at the end of this year, and I couldn’t have asked for a better finish or a better group of kids to work and travel with. It’s been amazing. Plus we got a beautiful trophy and a really big banner. That’s pretty cool!”
The Academic Decathlon competition consists of 10 individual events in art, economics, essay, interview, literature, math, music, science, social science, and speech. Additionally, teams compete in a relay — the Super Quiz — spanning all topics covered in the individual events. Every year, the theme is different. This year, the theme was the American Revolution and the new nation. Next year’s theme is technology and humanity. Award categories include students in honors (3.8 – 4.0 GPA), scholastic (3.20 – 3.799 GPA), and varsity (0.0 – 3.199 GPA) representing small, medium, and large schools.