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2014 Academic Decathlon Begins Friday

MADERA COUNTY – The 32nd Annual Madera County Academic Decathlon (ACADEC) competition begins on Friday, Jan. 24. High school students will compete in the interview and essay competitions at Madera County Office of Education. Pictured are 2014 participants from Yosemite High School (YHS).

ACADEC is a high school competition that challenges students in 10 areas of study. Seven of the events are written tests, including Art, Economics, Math, Music, Language and Literature, Science and Social Science. Students will also write essays, deliver prepared and impromptu speeches, and participate in interviews.

The YHS team is coached by teacher Steve Browning. Leading into the competition, YHS has won the county title 20 years in a row.

Yosemite, Chawanakee Academy, Chowchilla High, Liberty High, Madera High and Madera South High will be competing to be named county champion. The winner of Madera County’s Academic Decathlon will advance to the state competition in March.

The remaining eight Decathlon events, including the speech competition, will be held on Saturday, February 1 at Madera South High School. This year’s topic is World War I to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the war. The required novel for the literature test is The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, a story set against the backdrop of post-World War I.

Acadec 2“This prestigious competition continues to be highly regarded by colleges and gives students an opportunity to be introduced to topics not necessarily emphasized in their general course of study,” said Cecilia Massetti, Ed.D., Madera County Superintendent of Schools. “Students not only demonstrate their analytical skills but also must communicate their ideas though interviews and essays showing the depth of their knowledge.”

Many changes are in store for the 2014 Academic Decathlon.

Schools will be allowed up to 25 students per team. All are eligible for awards. The final overall team will be determined by selecting the top three scoring students from each division. This is the first year the interview will be held on a separate day from the traditional Academic Decathlon day the first Saturday in February. This will allow for the increased number of students and create a shorter Saturday competition.

This will also be the first year that the essay test will be held online. Students will complete their essays using a laptop computer. Essays will be scored by trained readers after the competition.

Students will now receive awards based on their division: Honor, Scholastic and Varsity. Each division will be awarded gold, silver and bronze medals for each subject.

Madera County was invited to participate in a pilot-program with four other counties in California to test new software for the Academic Decathlon. Students will use hand-held devices to input their tests answers. Students will take the art, economics, language and literature, mathematics, music, science and social science tests using the device.

“We are excited for all of these changes,” said Massetti. “They will allow more students to participate and receive accolades for their many hours of hard work and study.”

The Super Quiz will also be taken using the devices and will display an answer summary after each question. This will provide instant results to the audience after each round.

“Come and join us as our high school students demonstrate their knowledge during the Super Quiz,” said Massetti.

The public is invited to attend the Super Quiz and Awards Ceremony on February 1 beginning at 2:15 p.m. at Madera South High School. For more information please call Kristi Winter, Events Developer, at 559-662-3873.

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