By Hadia Chaudhry
The Granada Hills Charter (GHC) Academic Decathlon team won the second place trophy in the California Academic Decathlon competition on Saturday, March 24, receiving a total team score of 60,949.2 points.
There are three separate divisions of teams that participate in the different sections of the competition. Honors is made up students with a GPA of 3.75 to 4.00 or higher, Scholastic is for students with a GPA of 3.00 to 3.74, and the last division is Varsity, which is made up of students with a GPA of 2.99 or below.
The competition, held in Sacramento, welcomed high school teams from all over California. This year, 69 teams participated in the competition. Each team took part in a rigorous two-day competition consisting of seven multiple choice tests, a speech, an interview, and a Super Quiz round held in front of a live audience, which required the combined efforts of all team members. All of the events revolved around the theme of Africa.
The stakes were high for GHC, since El Camino Real Charter High School, a significant, longstanding rival had claimed the first place title during the city competition.
“The competition in terms of the other teams was very difficult. This year had two record breaking teams pitted against each other simply to see who had broken more records,” senior and member of the Varsity team Justin Chiang said.
At state, GHC placed first in Super Quiz, which is the last segment of the competition, although the battle for the trophy proved to be a tough one as GHC and El Camino were neck and neck. That is, until GHC pulled through with three more correct answers than El Camino.
“When I found out that our team won Super Quiz, I was extremely overjoyed. This wasn’t only because of how well we did but also because I knew that all the hard work and effort that my teammates put into the competition paid off. I was very proud of our success and seeing my teammates excited about our win made me even happier,” sophomore Rachel Park, who is an alternate for the Honors team, said.
The reveal of individual test scores is where things became heated. GHC witnessed a clean sweep in both mathematics and science, all team members receiving a medal in the two subjects. However, El Camino kept earning more. The victory in Super Quiz and the numerous medals still brought GHC short of the first place title. El Camino earned 663.2 points more than GHC for a total of 61, 612.4 points.
“Of course winning feels great, but I have learned that Academic Decathlon has more to offer than medals. The Academic Decathlon program offers students an opportunity to push themselves to their greatest potential,” head coach and math teacher Alina Lee said.
Second place may be a break from the team’s six- title streak but the Decathletes have remained hopeful about next year’s competition.
“Next year, I hope to improve, not only in my scores, but also as a decathlete. As a soon-to-be returner, I hope I can provide the same guidance and support I received to any new members of the team. And obviously win the state and national competition,” junior Thomas Zhou, who is on the Scholastic team, said.
Coming in second place in the state competition, however, earned the team an opportunity to participate in the online portion of nationals, which will be held in Frisco, Texas from April 19 to April 21. The online competition consists of seven subject tests and an essay.
Good luck to our decathletes.