Indiana School For The Deaf

Staff Portal

ISD Interview- Jesse Saunders, Gallaudet University’s Director of Youth Programs

What qualities should a team possess to be successful at the Academic Bowl? 

Hard work is number one. The students must be willing to do work outside of their normal school work. They have to develop chemistry, read and find time to get together. Hard work really pays off. Every year the team that wins the championship is normally the team that worked the hardest.

Why do you feel Indiana School for the Deaf is a good location for the Midwest Regional Academic Bowl competition?

This is ISD’s 4th time hosting the Midwest regional. The Indiana School for the Deaf is tied for the most times hosting. I’ve always heard good things about ISD. My niece and nephew attend ISD, and the school has an experienced host in Bob (Kovatch). Indiana School for the Deaf is in the center of the Midwest region so it is easier for participating teams and their fans to travel to. The school and community also really support the Academic Bowl.

What do you like best about the Academic Bowl competition and what it represents?

The Academic Bowl represents the pursuit of academic excellence. The (Gallaudet University) Academic Bowl is one of the hardest deaf tournaments to win. There are a lot more schools in the Academic Bowl’s national competition. For example, each team competes against 79 other teams. It is very hard to win the national competition. ISD for example has won 3 times. Indiana School for the Deaf has great coaches and the students are motivated. Winning the national championship brings prestige.

Do you have any tips or advice for teams participating in upcoming competitions?

Be willing to learn new things, work hard, and practice. In general, the pursuit of knowledge should be each student’s goal. The Academic Bowl helps students develop a love of learning.

Our current coaches at ISD, Mary Kovatch and Chuck Daube, were recently inducted into the Academic Bowl Hall of Fame. Can you explain a bit about why they were chosen by Gallaudet University to receive such a great honor?

This year was the 20th anniversary of the Academic Bowl, and we felt it was important to recognize the pioneers of the competition. When we discussed the possibilities for nominations Mary and Chuck were the first coaches we thought of. They’ve been involved for many years, basically since the beginning of the Academic Bowl, and have led teams to win 3 national championships. They also instill a since of pride in working hard, and establish an expectation to win every year.

On Gallaudet University’s President Roberta “Bobbi” Cordano:

Have you heard of Nyle DiMarco? Well our new president at Gallaudet University, Bobbi Cordano, is also a rising star. She will be visiting Indiana School for the Deaf during the Midwest Regional Competition in February. President Cordano is a huge supporter of bilingual-bicultural education.