Interior Distance Education of Alaska
|Interior Distance Education of Alaska|
|History||IDEA won its first state championship in 2016, and has come in second, third, or fourth for the majority of its existence. After 14 years of Fairbanks domination (West Valley and Lathrop), IDEA broke the pattern and took the state trophy in 2016.|
|Team Colors||White and blue|
|Head Coach||Scott Gingrich|
|Associate/Other Head Coach(es)||Lori Zulliger and Jen Schutte|
|State Championships||1: 2016|
|Highest Finish||13th (5th in Division IV): 2023 Nationals|
IDEA was the first home-school to be established in Alaska, and has been doing its very best to produce the best results possible. The school was founded in 1997 by the Galena School District in an effort to bring home-schooling to the state of Alaska after seeing the impressive success rate of such an endeavor. Since 1998 IDEA has been competing in the Alaska State Academic Decathlon, led by Scott Gingrich. Due to gaps in recorded competitions, it is only known that after 2004 IDEA always came in fourth, third, or second, most often coming in third. The team used to consistently win third every time, but that started to change after 2016, when the team won the state competition. Every year except 2017 and 2018 after 2016 saw the team winning second place. When IDEA won in 2016, it became the first home-school to win any academic decathlon state championship across the nation (reference needed). It also broke years of West Valley and Lathrop domination and competition, after 14 years of only these two schools in the lead. Finally, 2016 became the team's most successful year, attaining its highest score yet, and beating both its top scholastic and honors scores, with Owen Rohler and Henrique Miller placing in second and first for their respective grade levels. Owen went on to beat his previous scholastic score once again in the 2016 Nationals. In 2023, IDEA Team 1 achieved a score of 38,355.8 and it became their highest score during the Alaska Academic Decathlon State Competition. During that same year, an IDEA student achieved the school's first ever (known) perfect speech score with James Draven Brosnaham. 2023 also saw IDEA take several other speech medals in bronze, silver, and gold for all three GPA divisions, more than any previous year for the school.
IDEA’s team one from 2023 went to Nationals in Frisco, Texas to compete in Division IV. While at the nationals competition, the team made a name for itself by taking 12 medals, achieving a new school record, and being the highest scoring team from Alaska during that nationals competition, with state champion Lathrop achieving a score of 38,270.8 and IDEA having 38,896.7. The school also became known due to one of the captains, Ethan Griswold, becoming the #1 globally on the USAD training center, and saying hi to everyone he could with silly voices.
Rivalries and Friendships
As a long-standing Alaska team, IDEA has built up some friendships and rivalries with other teams. In the past four years IDEA has shown great comradery towards Hutchison, Monroe Catholic, Ketchikan, Juneau-Douglas, and West Valley High Schools. In particular, Hutchison and IDEA have supported and been incredibly friendly with one another. In recent years, West Valley and IDEA have also formed bonds, with top students from each school congratulating one another and becoming friends outside of the competition. Meanwhile, IDEA also has a competitive edge, due to its constant loss to both West Valley and Lathrop. As the usual school for third place behind these two schools, IDEA has been trying its hardest to surpass them, and managed to finally do so in 2016, after over a decade. In 2023, IDEA went to nationals to compete in Division IV, along with Bering Strait. The teams spent time together and played various random games during team events, and even shared flights together.
IDEA has many strange traditions that typically cause some confusion. These traditions include several highly competitive and fun games like ultimate uno, spoons, and more. The team takes these silly games far more seriously than one would imagine, as there have been multiple mild injuries due to broken spoons or rings on fingers. In 2012 the team formed a tradition of syrup shots at a local Denny's, where each member will take a shot of syrup before going back to the hotel for the awards banquet. IDEA began a new tradition in 2013 of performing the Hokey Pokey before the super quiz and banquet events as a morale booster and a noise competition with Hutshison (they have their own traditional chants). Lastly, the team tends to gather in the hallway outside of the awards room throughout the competition and do many different activities. These activities include something of an Olympics of wall-sits, seal-crawling, planking, push ups, and more, or having a personal dance with speakers, DJ, and all. The team likes to think it is the happiest and most entertained/entertaining team in the Alaska competition, though that is not necessarily a shared belief between teams....
Overall Team: 2023 Nationals - 38,896.7
Honors: Henrique Miller, 2016 State - 8,228.2
Scholastic: Owen Rohler, 2016 Nationals - 7,439.0
Varsity: Duni Arnold, 2013 State - 7,471.7
|Year||State Score||State Rank||Nationals Score||Nationals Rank|