Academic Decathlon dominates with first places in all categories
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Arduous hours of poring over World War II packets and practicing speeches paid off: Academic Decathlon members senior Angela Gadon, juniors William Tong and Daniel Kang placed first in their respective categories according to their GPAs and received a $1,000 scholarship.
The competition consists of 10 different parts with questions pertaining to this year’s theme of World War II.There are scantron tests for economics, math, social science, science, math, art, music and literature. The subjective tests include a speech, interview and essay.
“So much as what we do as coaches is really just logistics and motivation and encouragement, but it’s really up to the students to learn all the material on their own, and they really came through and did a good job this time,” English teacher and decathlon coach John Tezak said.
Since it was Kang’s first year in Decathlon, he initially viewed this competition as a learning opportunity to prepare for future competitions.
“I was actually aiming for second place at the best, but I thought even second place was unlikely,” Kang said. “So I was really surprised that I was first place and with such a high margin.”
For Gadon and Tong, this was their second year in Decathlon and for competing in the Orange County competition.
“Decathlon has definitely helped me improve my interpersonal skills and skills you can’t really learn with a book,” Gadon said. “Last year at the state competition, I could not handle interviews and ended up getting a 50 percent on my interview. But Decathlon forces you to face those things such as bad study habits or not being able to articulate your words.”
Decathlon has not only strengthen the interpersonal skills of student through speech and interview, but it also helped them develop their study habits.
“I was not a hard worker or a good student at school, but this really motivated me to actually start studying,” Kang said.
Gadon, Kang and Tong plan on using the money for college and the college application process.
“The money that they won is on a trust-based decathlon program and gives it to them based on the hope that they will use it for educational purposes, and that is a very big motivator for them as well as future decathletes,” Tezak said.
In addition to Tong, Gadon and Kang, junior Hannah Hui won third place and received $700, seniors Patrick Park and Farnoush Sohbati won fourth place and received $600 each, senior Sabrina Tubb won fifth place and received $500, junior Emily Kim won tenth place and received $100 and junior Kavya Sasikumar received $100 as an alternate in ninth place.
All the students who won in their respective categories are now preparing for state competition on March 23-27 in Sacramento, Calif.