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Yosemite High Wins Academic Decathlon; Chawanakee Student Takes Top Points

MADERA – Yosemite High School won the 2013 Academic Decathlon (ACADEC) for the 20th year in a row, and Chawanakee Academy student Laurel Samuelson was the top scoring decathlete, at the 31st annual Madera County Academic Decathlon held Feb. 2.

The Academic Decathlon team from Yosemite High School will compete in the California Academic Decathlon State Finals March 14-17 in Sacramento.Yosemite High School scored 33,880.10 out of 65,400 points, and will challenge the best schools throughout California.

The 9-member team, coached by Yosemite High teacher Steve Browning, won the Madera County Decathlon after competing against five county high schools.

“Decathlon involves 10 subjects and the students must test in all 10,” Browning explained. “We meet at lunch and after school in order to prepare for the test.

“The students must test in math, literature, economics, social studies, music, art, speech, essay, interview and science. This year’s theme was Russia and the Space Race.”‘

Yosemite High School won the Super Quiz relay held in front of community members, donors, educators, parents and volunteers. First place rosette ribbons were awarded to team members.

“I am very proud to coach this team,” Browning said. “There is a lot of camaraderie and dedication.”

The Yosemite High team members are:

  • Honors Division – Angele Du, Kenny Jeffris, Ericka Smith;
  • Scholastic Division – Christen Cogdell, Tasha Dragoo, Rebekah Urbano;
  • Varsity Division – Mark Friesen, Gregory Royse, Matthew Whitecotton.

Honors Division student Ericka Smith said she believed the team was successful “not only because we’re a bright group of students, but because we all bonded together and helped each other out. Plus, we had the best coach in the entire program.”

“I am very proud of our accomplishments,” said Angie Du, also in the Honors Division. “We worked hard and it truly paid off. I can’t wait for state.”

Scholastic Division student Tasha Dragoo was quoted as saying, “Everyone on this team is amazing and did a great job! What can I say, we are all turkeys!”

Rebekah Urbano reflected on the accomplishment, “I would like to thank the academy for… giving me Senor Browning and the opportunity to be a part of ACADEC. I really like to see all these children be dedicated to something.”

Laurel Samuelson Chawanakee Academy top scoring decathlete 2013Chawanakee Academy student Laurel Samuelson was the top scoring decathlete this year, with 6,223.7 points across the 10 events.

Cyndy Dolph, Associate Superintendent of Madera County Office of Education noted, “The Decathletes in this year’s Academic Decathlon were outstanding examples of the great students we have in Madera County. We congratulate Yosemite High School on their win. They should be proud of their achievements. We wish them well at the state Academic Decathlon competition in Sacramento.”

Chowchilla High School placed second, with Liberty High School coming in third in the competition. Other competing schools included Madera High and Madera South High.

Laurel Samuelson from Chawanakee Academy, was the top scoring decathlete this year, scoring 6,223.7 points across the 10 events.

The top scoring senior from each school will receive a $100 scholarship. The following students earned the senior honors:

Chowchilla High School – Elizabeth Kutzner

Liberty High School – Justin Klapste

Madera South High School – Alejandro Reyes

Yosemite High School – Matthew Whitecotton

Students received gold, silver and bronze medals for each academic event. The following students received medals in the following categories:

Art:

Ericka Smith Yosemite High Gold

Laurel Samuelson Chawanakee Academy Silver

Kenny Jeffris Yosemite High Silver

Daniel Lynch Chawanakee Academy Bronze

Economics:

Alejandra Segovia Chowchilla High Gold

Daniel Lynch Chawanakee Academy Silver

Kenny Jeffris Yosemite High Bronze

Ericka Smith Yosemite High Bronze

Essay:

Matthew Whitecotton Yosemite High Gold

Andrew Addington Liberty High Silver

Lillyanne Hermosilla Liberty High Bronze

Interview:

Jonathan Tipton Chawanakee Academy Gold

Gregory Royse Yosemite High Silver

Gerardo Enriquez, Jr. Liberty High Bronze

Language& Literature:

Daniel Lynch Chawanakee Academy Gold

Laurel Samuelson Chawanakee Academy Silver

Ericka Smith Yosemite High Bronze

Mathematics:

Laurel Samuelson Chawanakee Academy Gold

Alejandra Segovia Chowchilla High Silver

Angela Du Yosemite High Silver

Kenny Jeffris Yosemite High Silver

Elizabeth Kutzner Chowchilla High Bronze

Music:

Laurel Samuelson Chawanakee Academy Gold

Kenny Jeffris Yosemite High Silver

Ericka Smith Yosemite High Bronze

Social Science:

Laurel Samuelson Chawanakee Academy Gold

Elizabeth Kutzner Chowchilla High Silver

Matthew Whitecotton Yosemite High Bronze

Science:

Kenny Jeffris Yosemite High Gold

Matthew Whitecotton Yosemite High Silver

Brandon Gomez Chowchilla High Bronze

Gregory Royse Yosemite High Bronze

Speech:

Laurel Samuelson Chawanakee Academy Gold

Matthew Whitecotton Yosemite High Silver

Michael Lynch Chawanakee Academy Bronze

Angela Du Yosemite High Bronze

The Madera County Academic Decathlon is funded by donations from local businesses and community members.

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