Tuesday, March 28, 2023

‘I am a national champion!’ Granada Hills Charter wins US Academic Decathlon for ninth time

After months of study, the Academic Decathlon team at the Granada Hills Charter awaits its fate.

The defending champions entered the 2022 national competition in second place, but knew they had a good chance of repeating their success.

But Saturday also struck a chord with the countdown to first-place winners and, finally, San Fernando Valley High School winning the title for the ninth time.

“I’m a national champion!” Lily Fairbanks-Bermejo, 17, told coworkers Sunday morning when she went to work at a local coffee shop.

Nine students – Lily Fairbanks-Bermejo, Zainab Al-Atya, Vivian Lay, Vanessa Miller, Kira Pospecial, Matthew Salcedo, Colby Sapera, Garrett Scott and Mason Wong – represented the school in the competition. Two others – Anthony Mercado and Alyssa Nguyen – were alternates in the team coached by Tyler Lee and Amy Contreras.

Lee said the team, culled from a pool of more than 30 students, had spent “many, many hours” studying after school and during “Saturday Scrimmage” to prepare for the hard fight.

Lee, a history teacher who started in Granada Hills in the last school year, said, “Looking at the students who …. He believes the school’s strong support of the program has contributed to its continued success.

“Most sporting events are two or three months long,” Lee said. “The Decathlon is almost all year round, so it’s exhausting for them and I know it. But this group of kids really just kept going. They worked together, they lifted each other up.

The Decathlon consists of 10 competitions that revolve around a single theme in seven subject areas: mathematics, science, economics, literature, the arts, music and the social sciences. Lee said each student takes back to back 50-question multiple choice tests.

This year’s theme was “California Water: A Most Essential Resource”. Pospecial, a senior and first-timer in the competition, said the topic itself comes at a time when California is in a multi-year drought and that has forced him to try out for the team – the theme was about She cared.

This year’s three-day competition was held virtually on Zoom. The students used to gather in the auditorium of their school every day and return together on Saturday morning to watch the award ceremony.

Al-Atya, the only sophomore on the nine-man team who was the highest-ranked student in the entire competition, said she celebrated first by taking time to rest.

“I just went home and slept because I think after all this studying and this long school year, I really just needed a break,” said 15-year-old Al-Atya, who was first on the team. , who had entered the premises for this. For the first time this year, the pandemic has closed its doors.

Poscial, 18, didn’t have much time for the winning process before she had to run home to get ready for prom. At the dance, she celebrated with friends who congratulated her.

The outcome of the competition won’t affect her college prospects—she’s going to MIT to study computer science. But it has already boosted his confidence.

“There’s a tendency to feel like you’re not good enough or maybe it’s a fluke or you can’t keep up, and I definitely have a national championship under my belt. I’m sure to enter college with this win.” Excited,” said Pospecial.

Fairbanks-Bermejo, a junior who joined the team for the first time, also echoed the sentiment.

“I’ve always been very skeptical at first, but then it seems like the work I’ve done, I know what I’ve achieved and it’s been very rewarding in that aspect,” she said, “but I also think it Will be helpful for my future, not only in whatever college I go to, but also in how I carry myself.

The school is planning a loud rally to celebrate the victory of the students.

Nation World News Desk
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