Granada Hills Charter Takes State Academic Decathlon

By Whitney Levine

Long standing rivals, El Camino Real Charter and Granada Hills Charter went head to head in this year’s Academic Decathlon. It was a close match, with Granada winning this year’s California State Academic Decathlon championship.

Only one winning team from the California competition was able to advance to Nationals this year, while in previous years, two teams from each state were given the opportunity to compete. Last year, El Camino Real Charter High School won first place in Nationals with Granada Hills in second. Securing this year’s win in the highly competitive statewide sector helps prepare Granada for the next level competition.

“The key was ignoring all the distractions and maintaining a passion for Decathlon,” said Irene Lee, who won the second highest individual score. “That focus and desire to never let my team down really pushed me every day and helped achieve this success.”

Granada's winning championship team.

Granada’s winning championship team.

The two-day competition concluded March 21, and this is Granada’s fifth State Championship. The United States Academic Decathlon will be held in Garden Grove, California next month. This year’s winning team consists of Irene Lee, PeterCho, Fernando Sanchez, Jenean Docter, Jasmin Kim, and Natalie Gonzalez from the Class of 2015, Jorge Zepeda, Tanthai Pongstien, Joshua Lin, and Jihee Han from Class of 2016, and Aishah Mahmud from Class of 2017.

Leading up to competition, GHCHS’s Academic Decathlon team conducts rigorous, year-long training with each student preparing for 10 events in math, economics, music, art, literature, and speech. In doing so, each team member has a partner, specializing in different topics. By working together, the team members gain an overview of each subject, and then fine-tune their understanding to incorporate the small details. This is a continuous process throughout the school year.

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