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Academic Decathalon prepares for this year’s competitions

Senior+Sonia+Adhikari+works+on+her+math+material+during+third+period+AcDec+on+Thursday%2C+Nov.+8.
Senior Sonia Adhikari works on her math material during third period AcDec on Thursday, Nov. 8.

Senior Sonia Adhikari works on her math material during third period AcDec on Thursday, Nov. 8.

Photo by Edna Hernandez

Photo by Edna Hernandez

Senior Sonia Adhikari works on her math material during third period AcDec on Thursday, Nov. 8.

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AcDec (Academic Decathlon) is a competition team that focuses on learning certain materials in which students compete on later in the year. Every year, a different topic is chosen for the competitions; this year’s focus is on America in the 1960s.

“There’s not really a typical day in AcDec,” AcDec coach Amber Counts said. “We cover 10 different subjects ranging from speech to economics to science. One might find us up delivering an impromptu speech, analyzing or recreating a work of art, or completing a statistics multiple choice test.”

According to Counts, AcDec needs more representation within the school. Students who do find a home within AcDec believe the experience has significantly helped them in their classes this year.

“[The] hardest part is definitely studying,” senior Alyssa Fox said. “I spend 10 hours a week studying, but it’s worth it. To prepare for our competition we do more than study subjects; we write, practice and memorize speeches. We learn life skills, such as how interviews work.”

This year, AcDec consists of an entirely new group, with the exception of the club captain, senior Jacob Herod, who looks forward to working with the team. AcDec members study frequently but also create games out of their work to serve as team building exercises.

“Our overarching goal is to be the first AcDec team [at our school] to make it to the state competition,” Herod said. “In the meantime, however, our main goals are to broaden our knowledge of the subject matter and to strengthen our bond as a team.”

Any student may join AcDec as there are no prerequisites, however, maintaining a positive outlook and having the drive to learn are qualities AcDec students should have. Past members have been more prepared for their futures after leaving the club.

“AcDec prepares students for college unlike any other course,” Counts said. “Students learn to take monumental amounts of information, assess their individual learning styles and process that information. Each year, we see students make social gains as well as academic ones due to our focus on speech, interview and impromptu [speaking]. AcDec offers the most well-rounded program for whole-student improvement.”

In Herod’s opinion, AcDec brings shared accomplishments and goals. By joining AcDec, students will learn how to self-educate and work with a group.

“AcDec, contrary to what many people outside the organization believe, is not all about the work or the studying,” Herod said. “Sure, we could all show up in class every day, discuss what we read the night before, go home and study, and repeat, but that does not constitute a team, in my opinion. AcDec is not merely a class, a club or an intensive study group. It’s an experience.”

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