Smart cookies smash competition

A taste of what it means to be a member of Academic Decathlon


PHOTOS BY Angelique Tovar

This year’s team. (FROM LEFT, TOP) Isabella Worley, Jasmine Gonzalez, Aaron Xiong, Mike Kosila, Arashpreet Sandhu, Xavier Boldt, Nathan Tran, Nathan Pena, Kyle Lor (BOTTOM) Guadalupe Moreno-Hernandez, Gabrielle Gonzalez, Sam Harper, Hope Vang, Leslie Hernandez, Getsemani Guadarrama.

Academic Decathlon, (ACADEC), is a class on campus that competes in a nationwide competition known as the “Olympics for Academics” and they recently won many awards at the latest competition.
This year’s competition was The American Revolution. The team won second place in the Super Quiz, third place in div

ision 1, fourth place overall, and most improved team (two years in a row), with that they now qualify for state.
The competition was over the course of three days which started on Jan. 21 and ended Feb. 4.
“Our last competition exceeded our expectations,” said Tran. The next competition will be held March 11 at Sanger High and in Santa Clara March 24 through the 26th.
ACADEC competes in 10 different subjects including math, music, art, literature, science, economics, social science, essay, interview and speech. They even mash the topics together by the end.
“Then we compete in a Super Quiz event where they mix all of the topics together,” said instructor and coach Angelique Tovar, “and all the schools are competing together.”
Different years mean different topics being discussed. “Each year is based on a selected theme and seven of the subjects are molded to incorporate it,” said student Nathan Tran. “Competitors are granted a

semester to learn the material and compete.”

Tovar has been involved in ACADEC for many years.
“I have been coaching for 15 years,” said Tovar. “I competed in ACADEC as a student, but I love coaching it even more.”
Her favorite part is pushing students to do their best.
“It allows me to work with students of all GPAs to push their potential,” said Tovar. “I enjoy helping students develop confidence in speech and interview.”
The students, of course, love it as well. “I enjoy it because I get to meet new people and learn about things I normally wouldn’t learn in school,’’ said senior Guadalupe Moreno, who has been a part of ACADEC since her freshman year.


Over the years, themes change. Some have been The French Revolution, Mexico, both World Wars, Energy Innovation, the Importance of Water, and many more, including next year’s theme Technology and Humanity.

ACADEC is a very rigorous event, with tons of preparation and devotion,
“Many people think that ACADEC is only for ‘smart’ people,” said Tovar, “but to have a full team you must have students of all GPAs.”
“Grades are not a reflection of intelligence in ACADEC, meaning everyone has a shot at being successful,” said Tran.