AcaDeca celebrates last year’s win in Washington D.C.

By Randy Mancilla

This year in order to commemorate their April victory, the Academic Decathlon (AcaDeca) team was awarded a trip to Washington D.C. 

Last year’s team, composed of Lily Fairbank-Bermejo, Zainab Al-Atya, Vivian Le, Vanessa Miller, Kira Pospeshil, Matthew Salcedo, Colby Sapera, Garrett Scott and Mason Wong as well as alternates Anthony Mercado and Elyssa Nguyen won the national title for the ninth time.

The competition involved different components that revolved around a single theme in seven subject areas including literature, art, music, social science, science, and economics. Students must take multiple choice tests as well as conduct interviews among other tasks.

Last year’s theme was “California Water: A Most Essential Resource.”

As the national champions, the team was able to tour both the White House and the Capitol building. They also visited the Smithsonian’s African Museum of History, the Lincoln Memorial, the National Archives, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Washington Monument. 

 “I learned a lot about American History that I didn’t know before,” Sapera said. 

Coach and English teacher Mathew Arnold enjoyed the African Museum of History because he felt like he learned something from there. He felt moved by the museum and it was all so fascinating to him.

 “I thought it was a powerful experience to go through and see those different exhibits,” Arnold said.

Along with historical and political venues, the team was also treated to a Washington Nationals game.

“We all worked really hard last year, and we each made a lot of sacrifices whether it be time, job opportunities, or other teams and extracurriculars. Being in a decathlon was an extremely demanding commitment and the trip made it ultimately worth it,” Miller said.

Sapera was impressed by the glow of all the monuments on their nighttime tour. 

“The monuments by night tour was the best part of the trip because of all the stories behind the monuments and how cool they all looked at night,” Sapera said.

A big part of their tour involved artwork, whether in museums or other government buildings.

Miller especially enjoyed visiting the White House. She enjoyed all the artworks and rooms that were there. But most importantly she most enjoyed being able to do all of this with the Acadeca team. 

“I liked visiting the capital the most and spending time with everyone on the team again. We’re all really close and it was fun to see everyone together again and spend time together…,” said Vanessa.

“Students are working together as a team all year, so they become more unified. You see a lot of growth in terms of confidence and academic ability. To pick students from this huge campus of people and get them to buy into each other and to the idea of improving and getting better, that’s the idea every year,” Arnold said. 

He is one of the several proud AcaDeca coaches who went on the DC trip with the national champions.