OC high schools, students shine at the 36th annual California Academic Decathlon

CAADStudents from five Orange County high schools collected a bounty of plaques, medals and trophies at the 36th annual California Academic Decathlon.

In all, hundreds of young scholars from 66 campuses competed in the state contest, which was held March 19 through March 22 in Sacramento. Woodbridge High School was the top performer locally, finishing eighth overall with 50924.7 points.

Woodbridge High School finished eighth overall at the California Academic Decathlon with 50924.7 points.

“Our team was matched up against some incredibly talented schools and students,” Woodbridge co-coach Shan Wu told the Newsroom, “but the students represented themselves and Woodbridge with pride with our top-10 finish.”

Marking a first in the 47-year history of Orange County, five local schools advanced to the California Academic Decathlon, led by the championship squad from Westminster High. Along with Woodbridge, Valencia High in the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District, Trabuco Hills High in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District and La Quinta High in the Garden Grove Unified School District also made the trip.

Valencia of Placentia took second place in Division 2 of the state contest with 48175.9 points, while Trabuco Hills of Mission Viejo placed third in Division 3 with 43462.8 points. And 19 students from all five OC schools earned first-, second- or third-place honors in scores of subjects, categories and divisions. (You can access a complete list of winners here.)

For the uninitiated, Academic Decathlons are 10-event scholastic contests staged at the county, state and national levels. Nine-member teams compete for the highest scores on multiple-choice exams, speeches, interviews and essay assignments.

Each 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). The event culminates with the fast-paced and crowd-favorite Super Quiz Relay, which is held in front of a live audience. Among the Division 3 winners, Trabuco Hills High finished second in the Super Quiz and the team from La Quinta High in Westminster tied for third.

In case you were wondering, Granada Hills Charter High won this year’s Division 1 state title, and El Camino Real Charter High School took second overall, reversing last year’s finish. Both schools now head to the 34th annual U.S. Academic Decathlon to represent California, which has produced the last dozen national champions.