A crowd of students, parents and other fans gathered inside the Westminster High gymnasium, cheering, waving banners and slapping high-fives every time their team scored points.
That was the scene Saturday during the Super Quiz portion of the 52nd Orange County Academic Decathlon, one of the more thrilling academic competitions each year for local high school students.
Hundreds of students from more than 40 local high schools decrypted dozens of tough questions during the grueling 90-minute competition. Team members, known as “decathletes,” worked together as they fielded fast-paced questions, cheering when they answered correctly, or groaning when they missed one.
The decathlon is a scholastic contest featuring 10 set events. Nine-member teams compete for the highest scores on multiple-choice exams, speeches, interviews and essay assignments.
This year’s theme was “In Sickness and in Health: An Exploration of Illness and Wellness.”
Students fielded question that included: “Both Indian and Chinese healing systems in the ancient world relied on the idea that?”
The answer: the body was a smaller version of the larger universe.
Each team included 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).
The overall winning school will be announced later in February. The winning school will move on to the California Academic Decathlon in Sacramento in March.
The Academic Decathlon originated in Orange County, the brainchild of former County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Peterson.
Presented by the Orange County Academic Decathlon Association and OCDE, this year’s decathlon is supported by the contributions of community members and sponsors, including Del Taco Restaurants, NuVision Federal Credit Union, the Orange County Register, Aeries Software, Frontline Education, Applied Medical, Disney VoluntEARs, Mind Research and Achieve3000.