Academic Decathlon Places in 6th in Orange County

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Ally Dahncke, News Editor and Copy Editor

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Academic Decathlon Places in 6th in Orange County

Image obtained through Esperanza Aztecs Facebook page.

Image obtained through Esperanza Aztecs Facebook page.

Image obtained through Esperanza Aztecs Facebook page.

Image obtained through Esperanza Aztecs Facebook page.

Academic decathlon had a competition on Jan. 26 and Feb. 2. The team placed sixth overall in Orange County out of 40 schools. Senior Catie Mullner placed seventh overall in individual scores, and senior Gauri Deepa-Sreelal got tenth overall in individual scores.

On the first day, academic decathlon competed in the categories of speech, interview and essay. They wrote essays on music, social science and literature. The second day of competition contained seven 30 minute tests back to back on all their subjects which were literature, art, music, science, social science, economics and math. Then, there was the Super Quiz.

“Super Quiz contains three rounds by GPA, so varsity, scholastic, then honors,” Mullner explained. “Each team for each GPA contains three students that fall into that GPA category. Then we have to answer 14 questions, with 12 of them with a 10 second time limit and the 2 math questions with 20 seconds.”

“To prepare for competition, we reviewed each resource guide for each subject, which is basically a packet of academic decathlon material,” said junior and co-captain Brian Nguyen. “We always discussed each subject before the end of class, and we took tests and quizzes.”

“As for speeches,” Nguyen continued, “we made sure to practice memorizing them every Monday. To prepare for interviews, we had Mrs. Aguilar and Mr. Drake help interview us to simulate the interview experience.”

They also had several review sessions during the weekends and over the summer. The summer sessions were a new addition this year, and since they seemed to help, academic decathlon advisor Kressler Nguyen-Valdez plans to hold them again for next year.

“For my studying strategies personally, I tried to place my academic decathlon studying alongside my actually studying, so no matter what it was in the back of my mind,” Mullner said. “So I would be listening to the music selections while doing math homework, or waiting in line I had my quizlet open to the physics section. I think incorporating academic decathlon into my daily life really helped me immerse myself into it and furthered me on competition day.”

However, Mullner wasn’t expecting to do as well as she did because she also had a jazz festival which caused her to miss the last three review days. Nevertheless, she looks on the bright side. “I think this season has made me realize that if I work hard enough and want something enough, I can make it happen,” she said.

The rest of the team also had challenges in balancing their schedules. Nguyen said that many in academic decathlon also take AP classes which made it hard to study for academic decathlon on top of studying for tests in other classes. “Fortunately, each of us were able to put in the work despite rigorous schedules, and our team did exceptionally well at competition,” he said.

“I’m very proud of them because they worked very hard and had they best placement they’ve ever had in the county,” said Nguyen-Valdez.

“I’ve been in Academic Decathlon for four years,” Mullner said, “so to see all the hard work and heart I’ve put into Academic Decathlon get recognized by the county was incredible. I honestly wasn’t expecting it, but it was amazing to know that I made my team and Mrs. Nguyen proud.”