Some may say that Academic Decathlon is just another club, or an extra period for those who want to die and endure rigorous, challenging feats.On top of juggling APs and other classes, Decathlon members have to train for their club like a sport. Academic Decathlon is a ten-event scholastic competition where students from different Orange County high schools gather to test their knowledge, gain academic skills, and receive medals for their outstanding work. The students are placed into three categories based on their GPAS: Varsity, Scholastics, and Honors. This year’s theme was World War II. The Garden Grove Academic Decathlon Juniors/Seniors team spent endless hours and months on weekdays after school and on the weekends, mentally and physically preparing for the big day. Through their perilous journey, the decathletes placed 4th as a team for the Super Quiz event.
The first day of the competition took place at Tustin High School. Students wrote a timed essay, were interviewed, and presented a timed and impromptu speech in front of volunteer judges. A week later, decathletes gathered at Westminster High School to face their biggest opponent– not the other schools or participants, but the tests themselves. Students shuffled into their assigned classroom and spent the day taking 50-question tests on the different subjects (i.e social science, math, economics). Keri Tate, a three-year decathlete, expresses, “Competition was very intimidating because you’re surrounded by all of these students who have been working just as hard as you have. At the same time, it’s kind of exhilarating.” At the end of the day, students gathered in the gym to compete in Super Quiz with their teammates against the other schools. Super Quiz tests the knowledge of each team in front of a live audience. The goal is to collaborate on the final answer before 10 seconds is up. Against the many schools that participated in Super Quiz, Garden Grove High School received 4th place. First-year member Long Nguyen expresses, “Super Quiz was super relaxing. You share a connection with your teammates who are on the floor with you. The interaction was close and enjoyable.”
For the senior participants, it was their last year competing in Decathlon. Senior president Nhi Ly looks back at her team’s accomplishments these last few months with pride:
“In a single word, I am proud. When I started Academic Decathlon, the club was still really small and unknown here. Hardly anyone knew about it, and the few who did thought it was a club for only straight A students. As time went on, the club became larger and more diverse. I got to know each member who joined, and we all suffered together through our difficult readings. However, it was through this shared suffering that we were able to motivate each other and cooperate as a team. Decathlon isn’t an easy club, and that’s why I’m so proud of our members. They dedicated hours everyday coming to meetings and taking their own time to study. As a result, the team was able to win fourth place in Super Quiz, which is an incredible feat. As a student-led team with only one coach, we were able to beat other schools in our extremely competitive Division One. With continued efforts, I know this team will be able to compete well against competitive schools like Westminster, and I wholeheartedly believe that Garden Grove High School will one day make it to state.”
Despite the difficult classes and tiring schedule, these decathletes let nothing stop them from achieving their goals. No matter the hours of long readings, Garden Grove decathletes pushed through and conquered through the good and bad. Good job on your outstanding work! You guys definitely scored and achieved your goals!