Submitted by Kristi Winter
MADERA COUNTY — The 34th Annual Madera County Academic Decathlon competition begins on Friday, Jan. 29, as local high school students will compete in the interview and essay competitions at Madera County Office of Education. Yosemite High School, Chawanakee Academy, Chowchilla High, Liberty High, Madera High, Madera South High and will be competing to be named county champion. The remaining eight Decathlon events, including the speech competition, will be held on Saturday, Feb. 6 at Madera South High School. This year’s topic is India.
The winner of Madera County’s Academic Decathlon will advance to the state competition in March. This year, Mariposa County High School will be joining the competition.
Yosemite High School has won the competition for 22 years in a row as of last year, and this season welcomes new coach Carole Calderwood who takes over for Señor Steve Browning. Pictured here are YHS students (L-R) junior Brandon Healey, senior Clara Briley, coach Carole Calderwood, and sophomores Kyra Cole and Alexia Dahlin. 19 students altogether will participate on the Yosemite High School Badger team.
“In addition to the interview, public speaking and writing skills students learn, the understanding of another culture will benefit them throughout their lives,” said Dr. Cecilia Massetti, Madera County Superintendent of Schools. “Decathletes learn to be a part of a team, helping and leaning on each other throughout their preparation and competition.”
Schools will be allowed up to 25 students per team and 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 third 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 third 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 continue to receive awards based on their division: Honor, Scholastic and Varsity. Each division will be awarded gold, silver and bronze medals for each subject. This year’s Super Quiz will be a collaborative effort.
Students in each round will be allowed to discuss the question for 10 seconds and then answer the questions independently.
“This new format will be exciting to watch. It’s a great way for students to work through the problem together but still have the ability to answer on their own,” said Massetti.
The public is invited to attend the Super Quiz and Awards Ceremony on Feb. 6 beginning at 2:45 p.m. at Madera South High School.