Thousand Oaks High School scored third place at Academic Decathlon this year. They also won 27 trophies, beating their previous score by four.
Academic Decathlon, or Acadeca for short, is a statewide competition in which groups of at least nine students of varying GPA levels compete in academic competitions for gold, silver or bronze medals. The top scoring individuals also have a chance to win college scholarships.
Last year the team brought home 23 medals, which was the best TO High School had done in just under 30 years.
Melack Samson, a sophomore member of the team, spoke about the recent success of the team during competition.
“We did well. We got a lot of medals. We beat Westlake in some categories, which is very hard because they have more people then we do and they’re in a different division,” Samson said.
The TOHS team is run by AP European History teacher James Corbett. The team meets in his room twice a week to study.
This year the tournament was held at Pacifica High School in Oxnard on Jan 26 and Feb 3.
The five different quiz events during Acadeca include multiple-choice quizzes, speeches, an interview, and an essay. The final event is a game-show style quiz relay that features questions from a variety of subjects.
The quizzes cover a range of topics including art, economics, literature, music, science and social science. This year’s Acadeca focuses on the 1960s. Students competing in the Academic Decathlon must know everything about this decade to succeed in all rounds of competition.
Samson discusses the team’s strategy for studying.
“[Teammates] give mini-lectures about the subject that they’ve chosen, and they make sure that people have a basic understanding so that they do decently on the test,” Samson explained.
They also have an Edmodo page and Quizlet to help them study. The team members each take one topic that they are good at and research and lecture on it for the class.
It’s not all about work though. From making new friends on the team to joking around between serious moments, the Acadeca students have a lot of fun while preparing for the tournament.
Annabelle Sanders, a senior and unofficial co-captain of the team, recounts some of her favorite memories from preparing for and competing in Acadeca.
“I made some new friends on team and we learned a lot. I’m glad that we’ve done so well,” Sanders said.
Acadeca is a great addition to college applications for students who want to sign up for next year.
Mr. Corbett hopes next year they can create two teams, which would be a first for the school. He encourages more students to sign up so that they can make this happen.
Often it is the teammates with the lowest GPA who win the most points against their opponents. They are considered kids who are smart but hate school and aren’t motivated in class. They act as the team’s secret weapon during the tournament.
“The past two years we’ve had two really amazing varsity members, Annabelle Sanders this year, and Emma Halset. And they both really enjoy Academic Decathlon and they have a passion for it and because of that, they’re able to score very well in competition,” Samson said.
This recent victory at the Academic Decathlon reflects the success of the school. Acadeca is a great opportunity to show off academic excellence and learn about a subject.