Academic Decathlon Tests Olys’ Smarts

Ricardo Lira-Martinez, staff writer

This year’s academic decathlon team has been studying hard to prepare for the competition they face at high school competitions ranging from Montebello to El Rancho.
An academic decathlon is academic competition that challenges participating members, or decathletes, in more than one way.
More specifically so, these decathletes are subjected to study this year’s academic decathlon theme, which is the continent of Africa. Materials they study with range from books, packets, and discs. All their hard work pays off on competition day when they are challenged in areas such as delivering speeches, writing an essay, taking tests of knowledge, being interviewed, and taking part in the Super Quiz.
In the speech portion of the decathlon, a competitor needs to deliver a speech on a topic of one’s choice, and on a topic given.
The essay portion calls for decathletes to create an argumentative essay defending a position based on a particular topic. The interview section of academic decathlon consists of judges asking questions about the past experiences and future aspirations of a contestant. Meanwhile, the tests of knowledge consist of seven multiple-choice tests that range in various subjects, from economics to science. Lastly, the infamous Super Quiz, where decathletes use buzzers to answer questions on all the materials studied with teammates.
It is no surprise that the team has practices after school multiple times a week studying, rehearsing, and focusing on the given theme for this year’s academic decathlon at El Rancho High School.
“Studying more will give us the competitive edge, which is what will make us better,” says Fei Chao, senior, on the team’s study habits, starting with consistent practice.
With a successful scrimmage at Montebello High School on November 18, the decathletes recognized their strengths and weaknesses to focus on for the upcoming competition, then two-and-a-half months away.             Bassett claimed 10 medals on the days of the competition, taking place at El Rancho High on January 27 and February 3.
Rosa Raygoza, sophomore, was awarded silver in both essay and speech and bronze in interview. Claudia Gonzalez, also in the tenth grade, gained the bronze in art and silver in interview. Junior Angelica Gomez got the gold medal for music. Carla Segura, senior, clinched the gold in interview and bronze in the essay portion of the event and Fei Chao, senior, won gold for the highest total score and bronze in interview.
With the season now at its end, the Olympian decathletes will reflect on this year’s results and aim for bigger and better goals next season. ”I think this season went really well, definitely better than last year. The overall energy of this year was inspiring,” concluded senior, Carla Segura.