Gianni Manganelli (2014)
Gianni was a member of the University High School Academic Bowl from 2006 to 2009. During his freshman year, he won the Most Outstanding Player award at the West Regional held in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He went on to win a total of three Regional Most Outstanding Player awards and still remains the only one to accomplish this feat. He carried his 2009 University High School team to a national championship over a heavily favored Indiana School for the Deaf team (who were defending champions that year). After winning the championship, he was honored as the Most Outstanding Player during the national competition. Gianni is the first inductee of the Academic Bowl Hall of Fame.
Robert McConnell (2016)
Robert was the first person in Academic Bowl history to go to the national competition for four consecutive years, back in the early years where only one team per region advanced to the National competition. During his freshman year, he took Ohio School for the Deaf to the national competition. In his sophomore and junior years, he won the national championships while at Model Secondary School for the Deaf. In his senior year, still with Model Secondary School for the Deaf, he lost at the national competition after a new rule was established in part because of Rob's dominance. The new rule saw teams take turns answering questions in the 2nd round instead of letting one dominant player answer all of the questions in each match. There were no Most Outstanding Player awards in early years, but if there were, he would have won several of them. Robert was unquestionably the "fastest finger" in the history of the competition.
David Uzzell (2016)
David was probably the most dominant player in the 20-year history of the National Academic Bowl. He played for John Hersey High School, a Midwest powerhouse, and led that team to four consecutive national competition appearances and the national championship in 2007. He was the only player in Academic Bowl history to win two National Most Outstanding Player awards. David majored in history at Gallaudet and was a member of two national championship College Bowl teams.
Mary Kovatch & Chuck Daube (2016)
Mary and Chuck have been two peas in a pod for the past 18 years as the legendary coaches for Indiana School for the Deaf. They have gone to the National competition 14 times in 18 years. They have won 8 Regional championships in the past 15 years. They have coached many Regional and National All-Stars, Regional Most Outstanding Players, and a National Most Outstanding Player. They have won three national championships with three completely different teams. They consistently have high expectations for their players and even after retiring from teaching, they are still seen at ISD every day for Academic Bowl practice.
Pia Marie Paulone (2016)
Pia Marie began out as a player on Indiana School for the Deaf Academic Bowl team, eventually winning two Regional Most Outstanding Player awards and one National Most Outstanding Player in 2003 when she led her team to the national championship. She also played two years on Gallaudet's College Bowl teams, and then served two times as a coach. She was a part of the famed four-peat team at Gallaudet. She then served as the assistant coach of the Academic Bowl team at Texas School for the Deaf for four years. Pia Marie currently serves on the National Association of the Deaf's College Bowl committee.
Kathy Vesey (2016)
Kathy has been the Director of Gallaudet University Regional Center for the Northeast region since 1990, a total of 26 years now. She has been involved in every regional competition since 1997, when the Academic Bowl first began. She also served on the Academic Bowl Executive Committee for many years. She works tirelessly in putting on well planned Regional competitions. Her expertise is working with teams from various programs in order to accommodate a wide variety of communication needs. She is level-headed, a woman of principle, and has a lot of respect from those of us in the Academic Bowl family.
Sherry Duhon (2016)
Sherry has been a part of the Academic Bowl family from the very beginning. She has done everything for the Academic Bowl from being a proctor, door monitor, moderator, PowerPoint operator, Gallaudet University officer, director, and everything else. She directed the Academic Bowl for five years, including the two years where there was a single national competition with 80 teams attending Gallaudet University on one weekend. She worked hard to make these two years successful. Sherry also mentored the next Director, Jesse Saunders, who took over for her after her retirement.
Bernie Palmer (2016)
Edgar, frequently known as Bernie, was the director during the time the Academic Bowl competition expanded to five regions in 1997 beginning with 12 regional teams for 5 regions. He led the Academic Bowl team from 1997 to 2001 and during his time, the number of teams jumped from 12 participating teams to over 60. He facilitated the transition from overhead projector to Powerpoint, ushering Academic Bowl in the electronic age! Bernie is a "behind-the-scenes" kind of person who has been very supportive of the Academic Bowl program over the years.
Astrid Amann Goodstein (2016)
Astrid is the reason the Academic Bowl exists today. Back in mid-1990s at the National Association of the Deaf's College Bowl competition, she had a Eureka! moment after seeing how the College Bowl between Gallaudet University, RIT, and CSUN promoted academic excellence. She decided to set up a Mid-Atlantic Academic Bowl competition for high school students with the assistance of Dave Frank in 1996, which was then expanded into a National competition along with five separate Regional competitions.
Robert Weinstock (2016)
Robert, "Bob," is the only active member on the Academic Bowl Executive Committee who has served since the day the Academic Bowl was founded. He has a hand in every facet of the Academic Bowl, from competition format, rules and guidelines development and revisions, question format and development, and so forth. He has developed an estimated 150,000 questions and reviewed an estimated 300,000 questions over 20 years. He became the coach for Gallaudet University's College Bowl team in 1998 and has had a hand in bringing home the Championship trophy six times. Nearly all of his College Bowl players are also Academic Bowl alumni.
Debra Siel Lawson (2017)
Deb led the National Academic Bowl program from 1999 to 2007. She did this while serving as director of Outreach Programs and Publications under the former Office of Enrollment Management. During Debra's time as Academic Bowl director, the program grew exponentially. In particular, the national competition went from five teams to ten teams. Debra also ushered in the technological era by creating a question database, switching to an all-PowerPoint format from a hybrid of overhead transparencies and PowerPoint presentations, and purchasing new equipment such as lockout systems, scoreboards and projection equipment. The match format changed twice. First, the "gamble" final round became a lightning round. Second, Rounds 1 and 2 went from two toss-up/bonus rounds to one toss-up/bonus round and one round in which each player answered an equal number of questions in sequence. Debra laid a strong foundation for the program to mature into today's well-oiled, student-driven machine.
Ethan Sonnenstrahl (2019)
Ethan played on the Maryland School for the Deaf Academic Bowl team, becoming the first and currently the only player to have won four consecutive National Academic Bowl championships. He capped his fourth consecutive championship by also winning the prestigious Nationals Most Outstanding Player award. He currently holds the record for the best winning percentage by any Academic Bowl player with a 74-3 career record. He also played for the Gallaudet College Bowl team three times and won in his third and final attempt.
Dr. Robert Grindrod (2019)
Dr. Grindrod served as the coach of the John Hersey High School Academic Bowl team until he passed away. He was known for his passion and wanted nothing but to see his students succeed. He tirelessly spent many hours drilling his team and even developed a study guide that is now in use by teams all over the country. His teams regularly finished in the top two at the Midwest Regional competition. In fact, his teams won a total of four Regional competitions, one National competition, and finished in the top four at the National competition five times over his career. He coached countless All-Stars and Regional Most Outstanding Player winners. One of his players, David Uzzell, is another member of the Academic Bowl Hall of Fame and he credits Dr. Grindrod with all of his success. Dr. Grindrod will forever be remembered for his passion and for caring about his students outside of school.