By Diana Kesablyan
An undeniable component of Granada Hill Charter High School’s prestige comes from its extracurricular groups. Whether it is our Robotics competing in a world championship or our Science Team winning national titles, our Academic Decathlon team certainly adds to our culture of rigor and excellence.
The GHC Acadeca team won their ninth national championship last month. The team scored 52,383.2 points winning them the title of champion. The GHC team also had the highest-scoring students in their division: sophomore Zainab Al-Atya, and juniors Colby Sapera and Lily Fairbank-Bermejo.
The competition’s theme this year was water, a subject that Californians in particular are well versed in with our frequent droughts.
Their accomplishment is one that came with much dedication and work.
“We spend countless hours reading the guides, quizzing each other, taking practice tests, writing essays, and practicing speeches. Repetition is truly the best way to learn something. If I was having trouble remembering a certain fact, I’d just say it to myself about twenty times, then ask a teammate to quiz me on it. I’ve probably said my speech over fifty times and written the same number of essays. There’s no better way to prepare than doing it over, and over, and over again,” Sapera said.
Their hard work, nevertheless, is not taken for granted. Though winning national titles is on the top of the Academic Decathlon’s to-do list, it is the personal achievements which prove to be the biggest motivating force behind each student involved.
“I like to think I’ve matured since being in Acadeca, mainly in terms of my study and work habits. Being in Acadeca, and often not getting home until around 7, and still having four other classes to do homework for, really made me realize just how important time management is. My main goal in Acadeca was, of course, to help my team go as far as possible, and to make sure Granada retained its nationals-winning streak. Needless to say, these goals were soundly completed, with us blowing away the second-place school, Dulles High School from Texas, by a pretty large margin,” Sapera said.
In this manner, Academic Decathlon is not only impactful for the student, but also for adults involved. Parents hold pride in their students’ accomplishments and hard work, others are inspired by the determination of the team. The staff at GHC is particularly touched by Academic Deatholon’s dedication and work ethic.
“This year was my 5th year coaching an Academic Decathlon team [1st year at GHC]. I keep returning to Academic Decathlon because of the impact it has on every individual team member. For me, seeing the individual growth of each student is the best part of Academic Decathlon. My proudest achievement as the GHC Academic Decathlon coach was winning the national championship this year. While it still hasn’t fully hit me yet that we achieved our ultimate goal, I am most proud that our team stayed united and pushed each other toward achieving this goal,” head coach Tyler Lee said.
Academic Decathlon is a community of hard working students and coaches, who care about each other, and about upholding the school’s reputation. Acadeca stands for GHC’s foundational goals: resilience and educational focus. We are proud of their accomplishments this year, and are excited to see what the next year will bring.
There will be a celebration of the school’s win on Thursday May 12 at 8:00a.m. The event will include the cheer and dance teams, as well as music. Executive Director Brian Bauer will give a speech as well to recognize and honor the team.