Members of the North Hollywood Academic Decathlon team at the 2008 California Academic Decathlon. Once they advance to the national level, California schools tend to do well. Granada Hills Charter High School won the event for the third year in a row in 2013.
Two Los Angeles Unified School District high schools cleaned up at the U.S. Academic Decathlon, a grueling competition that tested students' knowledge in 10 subjects over three days.
But there can only be one winner -- and that honor went to Granada Hills Charter High School for the third time in a row. Its closest rival, El Camino Real charter high school in Woodland Hills came in second in the large-schools division. Granada Hills racked up 54,652.93 points out of a possible 60,000 at the competition, which took place in Minneapolis.
Los Angeles-area schools have long dominated the national event. L.A. Unified schools have won 14 of the last 26 national “acadeca” titles.
Students from Granada Hills and El Camino Real also took home piles of individual medals in each of the ten categories: Art, economics, essay, interview, literature, mathematics, music, science, social science and speech.
El Camino Real senior Jonathan Yih won the Reinauer Economic Prize and was named his team’s most valuable member. Other members of the school's team include Jenny Chi, Ranbir Dhillon, Peter Do, Jacob Hehir, Brennan Lincoln, Melissa Ngu, Tyler Wong, and Julian Zano.
Granada Hills senior Hamidah Mahmud won the top individual scholarship honor for large schools. Her teammates include Jae Kyung Chong Beung Woo Baek, Beatrice Dimaunahan, Faria Ghori, Dayoung Kim, Kailin Li, Kimberly Ly, and Kelley Ma. Their coaches are Matt Arnold, Spencer Wood, and Nick Webber.
Funding for Academic Decathlon has been threatened by budget constraints from time to time, but in LA Unified alone, more than 500 students from more than 50 schools continue to take part in the rigorous scholastic event.