Returning the favor: Ghidotti Academic Decathlon Team pays back teacher for fronting hotel costs out-of-pocket |

Returning the favor: Ghidotti Academic Decathlon Team pays back teacher for fronting hotel costs out-of-pocket

Ghidotti's Academic Decathlon team went to the state competition in late March.
Submitted photo by Kristanne Heaton

Arriving at the state competition in Sacramento, the Ghidotti Academic Decathlon team was in a tight spot.

They didn’t have funding to pay for all their accommodations.

“We weren’t able to afford the hotel,” said Trenidy Dickinson. The senior and team captain for the history and art subjects said Ghidotti’s principal informed team members that their coach, Kristanne Heaton, paid $1,000 out of pocket for their hotel rooms.

On Monday, the team started a GoFundMe account and held a bake sale in front of the Safeway on Brunswick Road to raise money for her, said Dickinson. The team’s goal was to raise $800. By Tuesday, they raised a total of $650.

“We didn’t think we’d make more than $200,” said Dickinson, who stood with her teammates selling baked goods for more than six hours.

Heaton, a first-time academic decathlon coach at Ghidotti, wasn’t worried, but felt touched by her team’s efforts to rally and raise money together.

“I never was worried I wouldn’t get repaid,” she said, adding that the school’s parent-teacher booster club would pay her the remaining $200. She also said the school district had to pay a registration fee of $700 for the team to compete at states.

“It’s really nice,” said Heaton, referring to the added money the parent-teacher booster club now has to fund future field trips and school activities because her team was able to get donations.


Ghidotti came in 13 out of 28 within the Small School Division at the academic decathlon state competition, which was held in late March, according to Heaton.

Two students won medals for their essays. Sarah Shine won gold and Kacie Harmon won silver, said Heaton. But the team wasn’t able to qualify for the national competition.

Ghidotti students competed in the competition’s 10 categories, including art, music, literature, social studies, economics, math, science, speech, interview and essay.

“The students feel like experts,” said Heaton.

The season’s theme was “The ’60s,” said Heaton, and next year’s will be health and health care.

Contact Sam Corey at 530-477-4219 or at

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