Weekly roundup: OC ‘Decathletes’ gear up for Super Quiz Relay, Sunburst Youth Academy featured, and more

2024 Orange County Academic Decathlon Day 1
On Saturday, Jan. 27, students participating in the 2024 Orange County Academic Decathlon attended the first day of the event at Tustin High School.

More than 500 students are heading into day two of the 2024 Orange County Academic Decathlon, which is being held at Westminster High School.  

This Saturday, Feb. 3, student teams representing 34 different high schools will complete 30-minute tests in the subject areas of art, economics, literature, mathematics, music, science and social science. This portion of the competition also features the Super Quiz Relay, a high-energy contest that feels like a sporting event. 

Founded by former Orange County Superintendent Dr. Robert Peterson in 1968, the Academic Decathlon is a 10-event scholastic contest staged at the county, state and national levels. The program aims to engage and challenge students across all academic abilities and achievement levels.

Decathletes kicked off the communication portion of the event Jan. 27, with presentations of prepared and impromptu speeches and participating in personal interviews. 

“I know our students have studied hard, some of them up to eight months,” Kristin Rigby, OCDE’s coordinator of academic events, said. “I love that our decathletes grow so much in their public speaking and interview skills, and also develop grit as they work through the decathlon’s rigorous curriculum.” 

Rigby estimates more than 500 guests will attend the Saturday event to root for their favorite students and teams. 

For further details on the Orange County Academic Decathlon, visit OCDE’s academic events webpage

Here are the other stories we’ve been following this week:

  • More than 150 student-cadets who took the challenge of transforming their personal and academic trajectories graduated from Sunburst Youth Academy — a community high school for at-promise youth — in December. A number of news outlets in the Southern California News Group, including the Orange County Register, featured the military-style program in this week’s editions.
  • Two Magnolia School District campuses have earned prestigious recognition from the National Center for Urban Transformation’s America’s Best Schools Award program.
  • In celebration of CTE Month, the OCDE Newsroom compiled five key insights about the ever-evolving field of career and technical education.
  • Westminster High School became a hub of automotive innovation as it hosted the Hydrogen Grand Prix, with students taking the lead as both engineers and drivers.
Southeast Asian Model Curriculum Project engagement sessions
  • At the direction of the California Department of Education, OCDE will continue hosting community engagement sessions through February to gather feedback from the public on the development of the Southeast Asian Model Curriculum Project.
  • Following the consolidation of a campus in November, the Ocean View School District established an advisory group to determine the best approach for selling or leasing the excess property.
  • A citizens advisory committee in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District is exploring options for an 11-acre site near Banning Ranch Preserve and expected to make recommendations to the school board soon. The public is invited to offer input at a meeting on February 5.
  • Future teachers and educators from Vanguard University had the opportunity to retrace the steps of Sylvia Mendez — a civil rights activist — as they learned about the landmark Mendez v. Westminster case, which ended forced school segregation in California.
Orange County Water District's 2023 Children's Water Education Festival
  • The Children’s Water Education Festival, organized by the Orange County Water District, is returning in March with opportunities for third- through fifth-grade students to learn about local water and environmental conservation efforts through hands-on activities and science lessons.
  • Los Alamitos High senior Zoe Rannau is working toward earning the Girl Scouts’ Gold Award, an achievement equivalent to the Boys’ Eagle Scout title, by constructing a preservation habitat for Monarch butterflies — a species currently on the endangered list.

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates and following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.