LOWELL | They thought their season was over, but instead, Lowell High School will become the first Northwest Indiana school to compete in the Academic Decathlon National Tournament next month.
Lowell, state runner-up in the Large School Division, along with champion Martinsville High School, will both represent Indiana from April 24 to 27 in the Academic Decathlon Nationals Tournament, set this year for Minneapolis, Minn.
After finishing in second place seven times since 2001, Lowell finally got the break it needed when Indiana was selected to have two teams represent the Hoosier state this year.
LHS English teacher and decathlon coach Joe Gianotti said that he feels like his program’s sustained excellence has finally paid off. “We’ve been so close so many times, but we’ve never made it," he said. "We came in second again this year, but our score was very strong. The U.S. Academic Decathlon decided to include the 12 highest scoring second-place schools from throughout the nation. We’re very excited.”
Gianotti got the call from Indiana Academic Competitions Director Kyle Harrop on March 7. “The kids were immediately excited,” Gianotti said. “They know the history. They know how well-respected they are at our various competitions and here at home.
"I, on the other hand, immediately went into fundraising mode.”
Gianotti said that the team will need to raise about $12,000 before they leave to pay for the trip. “And the Town of Lowell has already been fantastically generous,” Gianotti said. “Lowell is an incredible place to work and teach and live. But we have a long way to go.”
Lowell's Academic Decathlon Team has a 15-minute presentation that they are eager to present to any organization or business interested.
In addition, the team will host a fish fry from 4:30 to 7 p.m. April 19 in the LHS cafeteria, 2051 E. Commercial Ave., before the Lowell’s Got Talent event, to help raise funds for the trip."Come to the fry, stay for he talent," is out motto," Gianotti added. Dinner cost is $8 for adults and $5 for ages 12 and younger.
The team is also accepting donations through the Tri-Creek Education Foundation, and Gianotti said they have "a variety of ways to show our appreciation." The foundation can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, (219) 750-1262 or Tri-Creek Education Foundation Inc., 195 W. Oakley St., Lowell, IN 46356.
Any questions, or requests for a presentation to a civic group,can be directed to Gianotti at email@example.com.