By Chang Lee
On March 22, the Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS) Academic Decathlon team (ACADECA) won its fourth California State Academic Decathlon championship in five years at Sacramento, CA.
The team consists of seniors Irene Lee, Peter Cho, Fernando Sanchez, Jenean Docter, Jasmin Kim, Natalie Gonzalez; juniors Jorge Zepeda, Tanthai Pongstien, Joshua Lin, Jinhee Han; and sophomore Aishah Mahmud. The team garnered a winning score of 59,040.3 points, defeating rival El Camino Real High School who placed second with a score of 58,371.2 points.
“The key was ignoring all distractions and maintaining a passion for Decathlon. That focus and desire to never let my team down really pushed me every day and helped achieve this success,” Lee said in a GHCHS press release.
Sanchez secured the highest individual score of 9,449.1 points, while Lee had the second highest individual score of 9,387.4 points.
“Being the top student felt good, but not as good as being the top team. Every medal I won wasn’t mine but it was my team’s,” Sanchez said.
The GHCHS Academic Decathlon team rigorously trains for each competition. To prepare for each of the ten events in the areas of math, economics, music, art, literature and speech, each member partners up to help each other, strengthening each others’ weaknesses.
“The secret to Granada’s three-time national decathlon championship success is school-wide support. Administration, faculty, and support staff ensure the team has what it needs to compete at a high level,” Academic Decathlon coach and English teacher Mathew Arnold said in a GHCHS press release.
This year, only one winning team from the California competition advances to Nationals, making the victory especially meaningful for the team. The next competition is at Garden Grove on April 16 and 17, and an Awards Ceremony will take place on April 18.