Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

By Charlene Smith
Pine Bluffs Post staff 

Burns students study Russia



Ten students from Burns high joined a team that expected them to study more. And study something that hadn’t been offered in their daily curriculum, Russia.

The students on the Burns Academic Decathlon team traveled to Casper March 10 and 11 to compete in the state Academic Decathlon competition.

The decathlon tests students’ knowledge through a series of 10 tests focused on a specific topic each year. Russia was the topic this year. High school students from Burns, Douglas, Evanston, Glenrock, Meeteetse, Moorcroft, Wheatland and Worland competed in this year’s decathlon.

Burns coach Eric Allen expected his team to study as much for this competition as they would practice for a sporting event, often having mandatory morning study sessions in the weeks approaching the state competition.

“We studied art, music, history, literature, and economics involving Russia and read the novel Doctor Zhivago,” explained Allen.

Burns team had 10 members this year, but the size can range from three to 13. Students on the team had grades ranging from A’s to C’s, because the academic decathlon is for all students, not just traditional A students. It promotes the “team effort” throughout the competition while fostering a sense of pride in each students success.

And Burns was successful as a team taking second in state and individually.

The students are divided into three divisions, honor, scholastic and varsity. The placement is decided by their grade point averages in their core classes.

In the honors division, Mimi Kreuzer won a $200 scholarship for being Burns High School top scorer, a gold in language and literature, and essay, and a bronze in the interview category.

Also in honors, Eli Childers received a gold in science and math, and silver in essay and economics. Wyatt Emery received a silver in interview in the honors division.

In the scholastic division, Johnathan Oakes received a gold in science, silver in essay and a bronze in economics. Tegan Jonson received a gold in math, and silver in science and art. Kylar Jonson received a bronze in essay.

In the varsity division, Derek Goldfuss received all silvers in social science, language and literature, music, science, art, math, economics and essay. Colton Gaines received a silver in interview and bronze in music, art, and language and literature .

“I was very pleased with the effort of our kids in many individual events,” smiled Allen. “I would like to thank First Interstate Bank in Casper for sponsoring our scholarships and providing judges for the competition.”

Allen is already looking forward to next year.

“This is a great competition to help prepare students academically for college,” said Allen. He is interested in recruiting more schools to join the competition. If any school is interested in learning more about Academic Decathlon, Allen encouraged them to contact him at Burns High School. Or they can contact the state director of the competition, Interested in starting a decathlon team at your school? Contact state director Maureen Ryff at (307) 322-2075 for more information about getting a team together and the topic for next year’s competition.


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