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Moniteau Academic Decathlon Team Sets Sights on Nationals in Frisco, Texas

Benefit Fundraiser at The Beer Garden April 6th

Coach Kristy Hershey and The Moniteau Academic Decathlon team headed off to compete at the State Finals at Thiel College.


The Moniteau Academic Decathlon team made great strides in 2022 but exited the 2022 season knowing they could compete. As fast as the 2022 season ended, the 2023 season began and 5th year coach of the Decathlon Team, Kristy Hershey couldn’t be prouder of this studious group. Hershey has been with the district for 20 years, and has a passion for student enrichment programs. “I was anxious to be a part of this team and what it provides for students, lamented Hershey.

“My students began studying last March, after returning from the 2022 State competition near Philadelphia. We started by reading our novel, Wieland by Charles Brockden Brown.  Before school was out we had read the entire novel along with some shorter selections, such as poems by Phillis Wheatley, some of the Federalist Papers, and short stories like ‘Rip Van Winkle’.

The Academic Decathlon consists of ten events: Social Science, Science, Mathematics, Economics, Art (18 selected works), Music (14 musical pieces), Literature, Essay, Interview, and Speech (prepared and impromptu). 

Each year the Academic Decathlon centers on a specific topic. This year the topic is The American Revolution and the New Nation. Their Social Science is all about that era, our artworks and musical selections are all related to the era, and the Science is Chemistry- which became its own field around that time.

Members of the team include: Kadance Miller, Molly Milich, Joehy Brinkley, Logan Ryan, Taylor Voloch, Karolina Karner, Heath Shaner, Kris Midberry and Veronica Miller. The team is comprised of students at different grade levels and encompasses students with a variety of grade point averages. 

And well versed they are. Since November they have captured numerous first place honors and awards. The season started in November with their first competition at Penn State-Behrend. At that competition they took 2nd place overall, and 1st place small school.  In December they competed at Westminster College, and January at Northwestern High School and also remained 1st place small school and brought home numerous medals.  

In February, Moniteau hosted the Regional competition for the Western PA region.  10 schools attended, and the top 9 students from each team represented their schools.  At this competition, Moniteau brought home 46 medals and the 1st place small school plaque, and qualified for States. 

“Our district’s administration & school board are very supportive of the program, and that has helped our success. We have a parent booster program, ADePT, that provides a ton of help. They fundraise to provide team shirts, study session snacks, dinners while traveling, and anything else we need. They host study sessions, practice speeches and interviews with students, and they also volunteer at competitions as judges. The parent support is absolutely behind our success, stated coach Hershey.

Assisting Hershey and providing a lot of support is Chemistry teacher, Mr. Chaz Neff. Fittingly, the science this year was Chemistry. Mr. Neff attends after school and weekend study sessions and also assists in driving the team to many of the competitions.

On March 3-4 the Moniteau Decathlon team competed at the state competition against teams from the top 13 schools. Moniteau not only captured the top small school but beat the medium schools as well to capture the 2nd spot for Nationals. Only two teams from a state can qualify.

Not only is this group bringing back accolades to the Moniteau School District, they are having fun. Just like regular sports teams, they have matching apparel and enthusiasm to match. The group enjoys many field trips together and spends hours together getting learning from one another. This summer, they began studying the Seven Years’ War and snuck in a field trip to Fort Pitt to soak up a little bit of history. Once school started it was full steam ahead with many hours studying after school, over the holiday breaks, Sunday evenings and even on snow days!

The Moniteau Academic Decathlon team is a testament that hard work and effort pays off. The team will now head to San Francisco for the National competition on April 27-29 and will be only one of two Pennsylvania schools competing

The efforts of this team exemplify the words of Abigail Adams, “Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.”

Good Luck to this fine group of students and staff as they continue their journey. Keep chasing your dreams and goals!

The Moniteau Academic Decathlon Team will be hosting a Bingo Fundraiser at the Beer Garden on April 6th. There will be eleven bingo games as well as basket raffles and a 50/50. All proceeds will fund the extras needed for the trip. Come on out and show your support.

Kadance Miller, Molly Milich, Joey Brinkley, Logan Ryan, Taylor Voloch, Karolina Karner, Heath Shaner, Kris Midberry, Veronica Miller


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