The Indiana School for the Deaf’s academic bowl team competes in the finals of the National Academic Bowl. The tournament, which included 20 teams from across the nation, gathered at Gallaudet, April 1-4. 2017. ISD’s team consisted of seniors Rynata Fonseca and Isabella Paulone, junior Kate Lorenzo, and sophomore Franco Bippus. Their team was coached by Mary Kovatch and Chuck Daube, both in their 20th season of coaching.
Photos by Zhee Chatmon

The Indiana School for the Deaf defeated the Maryland School for the Deaf 60-49 in the championship match of the 21st annual Academic Bowl championship, hosted at Gallaudet University, April 1-4, 2017. Twenty high school teams from across the country came to compete and also participate in campus events and tours.
Daniel Girard, G-’05, Youth Programs operations coordinator, planned the event, overseeing operations and outreach activities.

“It is a great feeling to witness the success of the 21st National Academic Bowl event come to fruition after eight months of planning,” said Girard. “I felt such high energy and excitement from all the 20 teams and their cheering fans throughout the event.”

Vivienne Schroeder, ’09 & G-’11, National Outreach special projects, admissions and outreach coordinator, also was in charge of the extensive social media coverage throughout the weekend including the collaboration with The Daily Moth.

“This year’s competition was truly one of the most exciting and successful events in Academic Bowl history,” said Schroeder. “The quarterfinals, semifinals, and championship matches all were live-streamed. We had fans watching the action from all over the United States and from countries as far as Sweden. At the end, Indiana and Maryland were both neck and neck throughout the first two rounds. They had us on the edge of our seats the entire match.”
The competition took place in several venues on campus, including Elstad Auditorium, Chapel Hall Museum, Peikoff Alumni House, and the I. King Jordan Student Academic Center.

The Academic Bowl finished with three top winners. Each contestant from the first-place winning team received a $3,000 scholarship to attend Gallaudet University, while each contestant from the second place winning team received a $1,000 scholarship.

ISD claimed first place, followed by Maryland School for the Deaf (Frederick) placing second and Texas School for the Deaf (Austin) defeating Rockville High School (Maryland) to take third.
ISD’s team consisted of seniors Rynata Fonseca and Isabella Paulone, junior Kate Lorenzo, and sophomore Franco Bippus.Their team was coached by Mary Kovatch and Chuck Daube, both in their 20th season of coaching, with four past national championship wins.

The competition had coverage on social media, including Gallaudet Youth Program’s Facebook page and the Daily Moth.

“This year, our social media efforts along with The Daily Moth and livestreaming has been beyond amazing as it invited many viewers to join us for the event,” said Girard. “I am blessed to have such great support from the Office of Youth Programs, the Admissions and Outreach department, Youth Programs Ambassadors, and the National Academic Bowl committee.”

Alex Abenchuchan, ’10, Daily Moth founder and reporter, covered the Academic Bowl weekend festivities. Abenchuchan, who has been reporting independently on a daily basis for about two years, kicked off the Academic Bowl event.

“It was wonderful to cover the competition on the Daily Moth, in collaboration with the Gallaudet Youth Programs,” said Abenchuchan. “These students are the best and brightest in the nation, and they deserve all the attention they can get. The Academic Bowl’s 21-year history connects various generations of people who have been involved as a player, coach, parent, organizer, or volunteer.”

The following schools earned the chance to compete in the National Academic Bowl.


  • California School for the Deaf (Fremont)
  • California School for the Deaf (Riverside)
  • Edmonds-Woodway High School (Edmonds, Washington)
  • Washington School for the Deaf (Vancouver)
  • Wyoming Outreach Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (Casper)


  • Hinsdale South High School (Darien, Illinois)
  • Indiana School for the Deaf (Fishers)
  • Kansas School for the Deaf (Olathe)
  • Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf (Faribault)
  • Nebraska Regional Programs (Hastings)
  • Oklahoma School for the Deaf (Sulphur)


  • Florida School for the Deaf (St. Augustine)
  • Maryland School for the Deaf (Frederick)
  • Model Secondary School for the Deaf (Washington, D.C.)
  • Starr’s Mill High School (Fayetteville, Georgia)
  • Texas School for the Deaf (Austin)


  • Monroe #1 BOCES (Fairport, New York)
  • Mountain Lakes High School (Mountain Lakes, New Jersey)
  • READS Collaborative (Middleborough, Massachusetts)
  • Rockville High School (Maryland)

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