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January 10, 2014

Area schools face off in academic tournament

A team of students from Oneonta High School had a chance to shine Thursday when it won this year’s Upstate Academic Competition.

Sixteen teams from 11 area high schools participated at the program held at the SUNY Oneonta Instructional Resources Center. It was presented by the Catskill Area Study Council, a partnership between SUNY Oneonta and both area BOCES to give participating schools enrichment opportunities.

There are so many athletic competitions for students to demonstrate their skills, said Study Council Executive Coordinator Jo Boring.

“This give students a chance to demonstrate their academic skills outside the classroom,” she said.

The all-day event is a series of Jeopardy-style matches. The winners of the semifinal competition, Oneonta A and Cooperstown A, met for the top prize. The latter fielded two sections. Teams from Gilbertsville-Mount Upton and Milford made it to the semifinals.

The questions covered a wide variety of subjects, including science, math, literature, politics, sports and pop culture, said council assistant coordinator Joanne Lentner.

“The support of the college is very important to the success of the program,” she said.

The event started at 9:15 a.m., and “they have been going at it hard all day,” she said. It had originally been scheduled to take place on Tuesday but was delayed because of weather.

Several of those in the event talked about their experience before the final round. This included two members of the Gilbertsville-Mount Upton team.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” said senior Sarah Baker. She liked the opportunity “to compete with all of my friends.” Teammate Marissa Mehlrose, also a senior, said she enjoyed the opportunity of competing against friends from other schools.

Jennifer Sitts is the adviser to the two Oneonta teams.

“I think its a good experience,” she said of the event. It gives students a chance to see how they compare to their counterparts in other schools while testing their knowledge, she said.

Senior Jerry Li is a member of the Oneonta A team. Having participated in the event last year, he said, he knew what to expect.

“I really like the people that I meet,”he said.

Besides those mentioned, the schools that participated were Andes, Cherry Valley-Springfield (3), Hancock, Jefferson, South Kortright, Unadilla Valley and Whitney Point (2).

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