Academic Challenge teams lauded by Revere board

by Sheldon Ocker

April 18 board of education meeting

The Revere Board of Education recognized the achievements of the high school and middle school Academic Challenge teams.

The middle school team consists of 16 members, five of whom competed in the state tournament, where they finished second. The Revere High team recently qualified for the state tournament at the regional competition at Copley High School.

The high school team has been advancing in Channel 5’s (WEWS) yearly Academic Challenge competition. Participating schools are not permitted to reveal how they fare until their show airs.

“You get to be on television every two or three years,’’ said Revere High Academic Challenge adviser Jeff Fry, a social studies teacher. “With COVID, it’s been three years for us. The last time we were on television we won and ended up winning $6,000 for the school.’’

Seniors Tate Johnson and Philip Liu plus junior Neal Pannala are the team members who competed in the Channel 5 tournament.

“This year, I can’t tell you how it worked out, but we finished in the top three again and competed last month in the final round,’’ Fry said. “I believe that show will be on May 27 in the morning.’’

Of his seniors, Fry said, “Tate and Philip have been incredible members of our team. Both are great leaders for us and really represent the school district very, very well.’’

Pannala couldn’t attend the board meeting because he was taking a drivers’ education class.

Revere High Principal Andrew Peltz might have given away the result of the final show with his enthusiastic praise of the team.

“On Dec. 6 at Channel 5, I was watching one of the greatest performances ever on TV,’’ he said, speaking with purposeful hyperbole. “There was the Super Bowl, there was the Olympics, there have been just amazing documentaries. But I may have seen the greatest academic performance ever, by our own Academic Challenge team.’’

Seventh-grade science teacher Ryan Fletcher, adviser for the middle school Academic Challenge team, lauded his group for its ability to improve.

“There are teams they lost to at the beginning of the year, and they came back and beat them multiple times toward the end of the year,’’ he said. “These guys got better and better and better as the year wore on.’’

The five members of the middle school “A’’ team are eighth-graders Caden Jones, Eli Brackett, Laura Fondran and Ayushman Mukherjee plus seventh-grader Shauryra Jha.

The middle school “B’’ team also finished among the top 10 in the state tourney.

“They probably would have been in the top five,’’ Fletcher said, “had they not run in this [‘A’] team.’’


Board members Claudia Hower and Diana Sabitsch gave an update on several construction projects in the district.

“Everything should be ready for the fall season,’’ Hower said.

She was referencing improved lighting at the football stadium, bus garage and board office entry and two projects at Richfield Elementary, including a new playground.

Also on the schedule are window replacements for the high school media center, partial roof replacement for the middle school and a renovation of classrooms down two hallways at Richfield Elementary.

“The windows in the library will be replaced starting in May,’’ Sabitsch said. ‘’All the materials are ready to go.’’

The roof over the middle school gym must be replaced because of leaky skylights.

Hall of Fame nominations

Board member Hayden Hajdu announced that the Revere Hall of Fame is currently taking nominations and that voting will be June 5. Those who wish to nominate a candidate should email either Hajdu or Phil Heyn.

Other business

As part of his financial report, Treasurer Rick Berdine said, “We are favorable $1.1 million; most of that is the timing of tax advances.’’

He also announced the month’s donations: $2,400 from Tori and Dustin Muehlfeld to the middle school for the Washington, D.C. field trip; $2,500 from the Carson Higgins Memorial Foundation to the Carson Higgins Memorial Scholarship; $2,294 from the Bath Volunteers for Service to purchase a new thermal laminator for Bath Elementary; $50 to Revere Schools in memory of Mark Totten to be used at the treasurer’s discretion; $100 from James and Mary Ann Martello and Michelle Suglio to benefit varsity wrestling; and $537 from the Richfield FOP lodge to Revere Schools to benefit Feeding the Future. ∞