Orange County won’t have any teams competing at the U.S. Academic Decathlon in Wisconsin next month, but a local team finished in the top 10 over the weekend at this year’s state-level decathlon.
After winning the Orange County Academic Decathlon in February, Irvine’s Woodbridge High School earned ninth place overall at the California Academic Decathlon in Sacramento. In Division 2, Westminster High School placed first and Valencia High took third, and OC students claimed dozens of individual medals.
Of course, the weekend’s big winner was — once again — Granada Hills Charter High School, a perennial powerhouse that has won national championships five out of the last six years. With their sixth state win since 2011, Granada Hills students will get a chance to defend their title at the 35th Annual United States Academic Decathlon Championship, which will be held April 17 through April 23 in Madison, Wis.
Nearly 600 students from 67 high schools participated in the 2017 California Academic Decathlon, which was not without drama. Results from one of the most popular events, the Super Quiz Relay, had to be tossed out because an earlier contest in Alaska used the same questions and a video was posted online.
Academic Decathlons are staged each year at the local, county, state and national levels. Nine-member teams compete for top scores on multiple-choice exams, speeches, interviews and essay assignments based on a yearly theme, which in 2017 is “World War II.” Competitions culminate with the Super Quiz Relay, which takes place in front of an audience.
Each decathlon team must include three “Honor” students (those with GPAs of 3.75 or above), three “Scholastic” students (GPAs of 3.00 to 3.74) and three “Varsity” students (GPAs of 2.99 or below).