Brains not brawn the key to this decathlon

AcDec students take part in region competition


Jennifer Hernandez

Academic Decathlon students competed in a competition over the weekend. These scores will decide who goes to regionals.

Aliza Porter , Assignment Editor

Putting the finishing touches on months of studying, academic decathlon students are competing in the academic decathlon region competition at McKinney High School Friday and Saturday, with a chance at making the state meet on the line.

“We have a young team this year,” AcDec coach Gary Mumford said via email. “They have been preparing intensely in hopes of scoring high enough in the region competition this weekend to qualify for the state competition next month.”

Testing in 10 events, many of the students competing this weekend are enrolled in a class that helps them prepare.

“The class helps a lot because it actually keeps you on track on the things you’re supposed to do,” sophomore Sofia Calteron said. “Outside of school, you have to really motivate yourself to do it because it’s a lot of reading, it’s a lot of work, but it helps that there’s a resource. We have this things called Demidec so it has a bunch of different kits that’s like a cram kit or a power guide which summarizes it in a way that’s easy to memorize. So you can also look at the resource guides, but it’s also helps that there’s other resources for you to balance that.”

The United States Academic Decathlon (USAD) is a program that provides high school students an opportunity to experience the challenges of rigorous academic competition through participation in team activities.

“It’s very hard,” sophomore Ella Gong said. “ You have to find the time to do it. It’s helpful because in the class, there’s due dates and the due dates for when we do the reading quizzes so it helps us plan it out and schedule it, but when it comes to the competitions, you just have to hope either to have a plan or you just cram it all.”

Whereas students competing in other academic competitions such as UIL specialize in only one subject, the academic decathlon requires students to memorize and specialize in a variety of areas ranging from math to language.

“It’s really hard,” junior Andrew Sen. “You basically have to go with your own prioritization system. Either that means picking your best subjects and studying those to improve or picking your worst ones so you’re more balanced out. Structurally, it’s similar to most other academic competitions. This is different because it covers so many different topics. You have to learn math and science and literature and art and all these other things so it’s a lot more information you have to learn.”