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Academic Decathlon Takes the Gold in Annual Competition
Posted 03/26/2015 11:56AM

Written by: Ryan Hartnett '15

With a well-renowned reputation in sports, it may come to many as a surprise when they find out that Servite also has an award-winning Academic Decathlon Team.

Last month, the Servite Friars Academic Decathlon team took first place overall in the second division of the Orange County Academic Decathlon competition, scoring a team total of 35,349.3 points. By taking first place overall in the second division, the Friars will be able to compete in the first division next year, the highest level of competition in the Orange County League.

The Varsity Academic Decathlon Team is comprised of nine individuals and led by Adviser Mr. Kieran Scott. Each team member contributes to the success of the team.

Before the students leave for summer break, each team member is handed a binder the size of an oversized dictionary that contains all the information he needs to learn for the Academic Decathlon competition in February. The binder covers seven academic topics: Language and Literature, Science, Mathematics, Social Science, Economics, Art, and Music. Senior Luke Perez said, "My favorite subject happens to be the economics section because the information relates to topical issues as well as skills I can use in the future."

There is an individual exam taken for each of the seven subject areas. After the exam, Decathlon participants write a 60-minute essay on a random topic and give a two-minute speech on a prepared subject. Students are also prepared for the most nerve-racking event: the dreaded seven-minute interview, which is similar to a job interview.

Once the individual events are concluded, the team takes a collective super quiz. The nine-person team is split into three groups of three for the super quiz. Students are placed in their respective level of competition based on their GPA. Honors require a 3.75-4.0 GPA. Scholastic requires a 3.00-3.75 GPA and finally, the Varsity level requires a 3.0 GPA or below. Mr. Scott prefers for incoming Decathlon participants to have a lower grade point average. "The lower the GPA, the better," Mr. Scott says because he likes to highlight the fact that students don't have to be in the top percentage of their class to join the team. Anyone with a quality work ethic and positive attitude can succeed in Academic Decathlon.

Mr. Scott's philosophy is that when students join the Academic Decathlon team they are surrounded by students who have a good work ethic and are very successful in their academics. In turn, the students who start out at the varsity level with a lower GPA become better students. Their GPA's rise above the 3.0 level. Once students go up a level in their GPA, they no longer can compete in the previous level. Every student is allowed to play up a level of competition even if their GPA is below the requirements of the higher level, but are not permitted to play down a level, this is similar to a wrestler and the weight class he competes in.

One thing that separates the Servite Decathlon Team from the other Orange County competitors is that Servite is comprised of all males. Whereas 57 percent of the decathletes on competing teams are females. Mr. Scott believes that the boys love the attention they receive from the girls; they are treated as celebrities amongst the other decathletes.Contrary to what is a popular teen myth about intelligent, hard-working, scholarly students, decathletes can get hot girlfriends and dates to the prom nowadays, not just the football players. - See more at: http://www.thespokesman.org/top-stories/2015/03/24...

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