DHS teams wins Acalympics contest

The Dickinson High School Acalympics Team was the first-place winner in the 23rd annual Senior High Acalympics Contest held Nov. 20 at Glen Ullin High School.

The Dickinson High School Acalympics Team was the first-place winner in the 23rd annual Senior High Acalympics Contest held Nov. 20 at Glen Ullin High School.

Thirteen high schools from the I-94 Conference and the Oliver-Mercer Consortium participated. Second place went to Beulah High School, followed by Richardton-Taylor High School.

"It's been a few years since we've taken first. It was a nice feeling," said DHS Acalympics coach Jeri Braunagel.

Sponsored by the Southwest Principals' Association, the event tests the academic knowledge of students in grades 10-12. The areas of competition include mathematics, social studies, science, language arts, current events and electives.

Acalympics opens with a written round of 40 questions. Each five-member team posts its answer on an overhead projector within a 15 second time limit.


The top three teams from the written competition advance to the lightening round. Much like the game show Jeopardy, the students must hit the buzzer first to answer the 25 questions. A team is awarded two points for a correct answer and loses one point for an incorrect answer, said Braunagel.

Dickinson High's team consisted of Taylor Bruhschwein, Samantha Froehlich, Briley Messer, Mike Miller, Allison Pavlicek, Seth Rummel and Tyler Swenson. The alternates are Jonathan Gab and Mike Makowski.

"We have five seniors on the team. We did have experience this year," she said.

Braunagel said the Acalympics competition is open to all students, but they must try out for the team.

"I think it gives students a chance to excel in something other than athletics. This competition is for students who are academically inclined. We have fun. We meet three or four times a week. This was our last competition until spring," she said.

"When we build a team, we look for strengths. We pull leaders from subject areas and they concentrate on their particular topics," she said.

For example, one student concentrated on current events over the last three months. Another student went through summaries of short stories and their main characters.

"A lot of parents come to watch. Parents say they can't believe how much they have forgotten and how much the students know," she said.


Braunagel prefers to call herself an adviser rather than a coach.

"I'm a math teacher, I can't coach in all the areas," she said.

The Acalympics team currently has 20 members.

"Kids recruit kids. Once they realize how much fun it can be, they bring in people," she said.

The next competition is the 49th annual Knowledge Masters Open on Dec. 4. This is a national online competition, in which the entire team can participate. Fifteen students have signed up for the event.

It allows students the opportunity to compete in a large academic event without the expense of traveling to a central site.

For this competition, Braunagel's goal is to place first in the state. Their greatest competition comes from Grand Forks-Red River, Bismarck Century and Bismarck High.

"Our goal is to get past those three," she said.


Her ultimate goal is to be among the top 100 schools in the nation.

"Nationally, there are pages and pages of schools who compete," she said.

The Acalympics team also plans to participate in a Knowledge and Math Meet at Minot and a Junior Acacalympics Competition at Belfield in the spring.

For the Junior Acalympics Competition, Braunagel is asking junior high students to compete with the freshmen. She considers it a good recruiting tool for next year.

The Richardton-Taylor team includes Jessica Bobb, Kristen Johnson, Brandon Myran, Mandy Naumann, Olivia Tyrell, Garrett Zent and Katie Zent with coach Harvey Tibor.

The Beulah team includes Sarah Funkhauser, Dane Johansen, Ryan Koch, Ben Maliske, Jordan Mann, Garrett Sayler and Paige Scherer with coach Leah Dockter.

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