High School science academic team heads to State Competition


A group of three Switzerland County High School seniors will compete at Purdue University this Saturday in the State Finals of the Academic Super Bowl.

The three, including captain Emma Johnson and teammates Dylan Griffith and Julie Furnish, will compete in the science division, and are coached by teacher Bonnie Fancher. They earned their way to the State competition by winning the Regional competition that was held at Batesville High School on April 19th, and then their regional score was one of the top six highest scores in Division 3. That sent them on to Purdue.

Overall, there were 5,423 student from 293 different high schools who participated in the Academic Super Bowl at the regional level.

In the competition, each team was asked 25 questions in their particular disciplinary area, with the team earning a point for each correct answer.

At the regional level, the Switzerland County science team recorded a score of 18 – the second highest total in the state in their division. Eastern High School in Greentown, Indiana, had a score of 19; and Benton Central High School in Oxford also scored an 18, but Switzerland County earned second place because the local team got all of the tiebreakers correct.

Milan High School’s science team will also be in the State finals, along with Sheridan High School; North Knox High School in Bicknell; and Northwestern High School in Kokomo.

The top scoring team in each of the four divisions will be crowned as the State Champion on Saturday.

The theme of this year’s Academic Super Bowl is Latin America, and all of the questions in the various academic areas can be connected to Latin America.

At the regional level, the Switzerland County science team dealt with a wide array of questions.

“We had questions about the biomes of Latin America, and there were also a lot of questions about electricity and circuits,” Emma Johnson said.

“We also had questions about copper electrolysis, stuff about silver and all types of metals,” Dylan Griffith said. “We also had a couple of things about convection currents and gem structure and mineral structure.

The team said that on Saturday they will have 20-seconds each to answer the 25 questions. They will work collectively as a team.

“They’ve studied very hard and they’ve worked together well,” coach Bonnie Fancher said. “We’ve learned a lot.”

Bonnie Fancher said that although Switzerland County is a Class 3 school, the student’s scores here were comparable to larger schools.

“They held their own,” Bonnie Fancher said.

Bonnie Fancher will serve as a proctor for another school competing in the State Finals.

Switzerland County is no stranger to the Academic State Finals, and Bonnie Fancher said that the school has earned the State Championship in science on two different occasions. The first championship came under the topic of “All things Indiana”; while the second dealt with “All things Women in Science”.

In the first championship, there were four members on the team; while there were six making up the second state champs.

“We’re a small team this year,” Bonnie Fancher smiles. “We have three team members, but these students are very well prepared and qualified.”


Along with the science team, the Switzerland County fine arts team also placed first at the regional competition, but the squad did not record one of the six highest scores in the state to advance.

The fine arts team was captained by Tess Stoops; and included team members Joshua Carr, Pam Dye, Tyler Peelman, and Nicole Tice. They were coached by teachers Tammy Beitzel and Donna Baker.

Also representing Switzerland County at the regional competition were:

- The English team was coached by teacher Janet Hendricks, and included captain Rachael Chatham and team members Carlotta Hamilton, Courtney Roland, and Tonya Springer.

– The math team included members Emma Johnson, Kimberly Cox, Ashley Green, and Tim McAlister, and was coached by teacher Pam Jones.

– The social studies team included captain Chelsea Duvall and members Kimberly Cox, Devin Coy, Dylan Griffith, and Samantha Helt, and was coached by teacher Michelle Fox.

– The interdisciplinary team, which included topics covering all of the subject areas, was captained by Emma Johnson and included team members Rachael Chatham, Dylan Griffith, Samantha Helt, and Tess Stoops.