Eight CMHS students were a part of this scene as they competed in the first part of the 2011-12 Orange County Academic Decathlon. (The list of students on the Academic Decathlon team is below the article).
The CMHS Academic Decathlon team is coached by the Physics and MESA teacher, Ms. Ras, with Spanish teacher, Mr. Olier joining her as co-coach for the first time. Students meet Mondays in Ms. Ras’s room to prepare for the Decathlon.
Every winter, schools all over Orange County gather teams of highly motivated high school students together to compete in ten academic competitions: speech, interview, essay, art, economics, social science, music, language and literature, Super Quiz written, and Super Quiz. Students are divided into three categories based on their GPA from the last two years: Honors, Scholastic, and Varsity, with Honors being the highest category. The competition gives students the opportunity to win beautiful medals, as the top five students in each division for each competition receive after the scores are counted.
The theme of this year’s competition was “The Age of Empire,” with a special emphasis on imperialism and colonialism.
The competition is divided into two parts. The first part, which took place on the 28th, was the speech, essay, and interview. In preparation for this event, decathletes must write a speech, read a specific piece of literature, and dress professionally.
For the speech, decathletes must prepare a 4 minute speech on any topic they choose and deliver it to a panel of judges, who review everything from a firm handshake to the length of eye contact. After the prepared speech, they have one minute to prepare an impromptu speech, the subject of which is chosen from a list of prompts given to them by the judges on the spot, and they must deliver it in the same professional manner as the one they gave before .
In the interview, decathletes are judged on their personality and professional demeanor, judged by a different panel of judges asking them questions such as, “What is your biggest challenge at school?” and “What volunteering do you do?” For the essay, students are herded into a cafeteria to write prompts based on the Super Quiz or the required reading.
Veterans, such as senior Raquel Friedmann, fawned over the fact that it was their final competition. New members, such as junior Eddie Villegas, were excited about the new experience.
The team will meet to take a series of tests on the other subjects at Westminster High School this Saturday.
2011-2012 Academic Decathlon Team: