At around 6 pm on Friday, March 13, Pius X’s Academic Decathlon coach Ann Kotopka sent out a text with an update about the Alaska Nationals trip.
“Sad news but expected…we will not be traveling to Alaska,” Kotopka’s text read.
Nationals will continue as planned, but the testing will take place online at Pius X as opposed to in Anchorage, Alaska.
“I kind of just sat there for a second, I knew this was coming, but it still sucks,” junior Clare Oldenburg said.
Alaska was a big motivator in helping the team study and a picture of Alaska was put on the locker posters with the phrase “Keep your eyes on the prize”.
“I’m honestly pretty disappointed because Alaska is pretty cool and I’ve been studying since June for this trip,” Oldenburg said.
Oldenburg saw the text while at rehearsal for Pius X’s upcoming musical Hello Dolly along with another team member, sophomore Kevin Pynes.
While Oldenburg and Pynes were disappointed and not surprised, both of them had slightly different attitudes when faced with this new development.
“At first, I was like ‘well I’m not surprised’ and then it hit me a second later and I was like ‘Oh dang it I’m not going to Alaska anymore’ and that sucked,” Pynes said. “But you know they canceled school the same day, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise.”
Pynes’s disappointment was short-lived when his positive attitude revealed itself in the face of this news.
“I’m really sad about it, but winning State was somewhat of a surprise to us in the first place so I’m really glad we won, and we earned a place at Nationals and I think that’s really important,” Pynes said.
Kotopka has promised the team members that they will still be rewarded for their hard work, it just will not be a trip to Alaska.