Atypical Olympians


Molly Murphy

The ACADEC club participated in the homecoming carnival with a trivia booth, selling homemade cookies and Oreo brownies.

Tie dye shirts, the Civil Rights Movement, the first man on the moon, the Beatles, John F. Kennedy’s assassination—how does all of this correlate? It’s all during the 1960s.

The Academic Decathlon team, ACADEC, prepares themselves for competition through the topic assigned—varying each year—by learning every detail bar none.

“ACADEC—I like to call it the Olympics of the Mind,” sponsor Elizabeth Blake said. “Just like a decathlon, there are 10 topics that we cover and each competitor is tested over it.”

The ACADEC team dedicates time in order to be fully prepared for their tournaments. They usually compete in practice meets and then advance through to state by district and regional qualifying contests.

“Districts for us is more like a practice run,” Historian Sasha Tapia said. “Regionals is what we are preparing for, where we have to create speeches with our information and present them to the judges.”

To be able to learn the material required, the ACADEC team finds ways to make the challenge easier.

“There is a designated website for ACADEC, where it includes all the information needed to know,” Blake said. “We also have creative ways of memorizing it; one student invented a scavenger hunt to make the learning experience fun and simple.”

They have a dedicated class period that most members are in, otherwise they meet in a panther den, along with having meetings every Wednesday morning so each member has the opportunity to collaborate with the team.

“I am on the wrestling team, so I am in Mrs. Blake’s panther den,” senior Gavin Newmeyer said. “I also go every Wednesday morning so I can study the material more.”

Members must learn facts like the types of math they learned and the types of cars they owned, along with being able to identify each instrument a song plays, and many more facts.

“It’s challenging to learn all the information, but it is so much fun,” Tapia said. “We love the challenge though, as we are all curious to know why things are the way they are.”

If the ACADEC team goes to state and receives a medal, then the students and/or team automatically receive academic scholarships, which can be rewarding and needing for some students.

“I was a part of the Academic Decathlon when I was in high school, and I was a C-student,” Blake said. “This is the only place that I know where C-students can receive academic scholarships.”

Their next competition Districts takes place on Nov. 15th at the Klein Multi-Purpose Center.