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Two Newport High School 8th Graders qualify for KY state academic team — first time in team history

Two eighth grade students from Newport High School have qualified for the Kentucky state academic team competition for the first time in team history.
Daniela Coronado and Riahana Ragster both emerged from the Kentucky Association for Academic Competition (KAAC) District and Regional tournaments to advance to the state competition.


Daniela placed first in the District and fifth in the Region for Composition while Riahana placed third in the District and Region in the English/Language Arts (ELA) Assessment. The students will compete in the state competition the weekend of March 13 and 14.
“The success of our Academic Team speaks volumes about the quality of instruction our teachers provide,” said Jennifer Johansing, the Newport High School Instructional Coach and coach of the seventh and eighth grade academic team. “Our instruction is rigorous, and our students are successful because we have such amazing, dedicated teachers who always go above and beyond to help.”
“I am so proud of Daniela and Riahana, and we are incredibly fortunate to have our board of education, school, community, parent, and teacher support,” she said. “It takes a village.”
Success in academic team competitions takes a strong commitment, Johansing said.  
The team has one practice a week. Individually, the students practiced test question sets through online platforms like Quizizz, Quizlet, and IXL. And in addition to their regular classes and studies, many team members also participate in other activities such as band, theatre, and basketball.
“Daniela and Riahana never missed a practice,” Johansing said. “They show up every day and they work hard.” 

Restrictions due to the COVID-19 virus added even more challenges. Usually, practices and matches are in person but were done virtually this year.
“We had to learn how to get on a Google Meet with our camera on so we could hear the questions being read, and then at the same time we had to keep up with the Quiz Bowl buzz in system so we could see the score,” Johansing said. “It was a lot of tech to use to make a match run, but it was worth it to get to have a full season from September to March. And we look forward to starting practice in August.”
Johansing has coached seventh and eighth graders since 2014. Her assistant coaches are science teacher Briana Cook and math teacher David Wheatley. ELA teacher Todd Bertsch, who coaches the Newport High School Academic Team, also helps with the team.
“This team is so special, because it is our first time making it to state,” Johansing said. “Even a few students who did not make it to Regionals decided to come to show their teammates support during their regional assessments.” 

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