Granada Hills Charter High School will head into next month’s state Academic Decathlon event with great momentum and great confidence.
The school’s team roared through the 35th annual Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) competition, amassing 55,757.5 points (out of 60,000.00), the highest total ever in competition history — regional, state or national.
“This was so intense,” noted Joshua Lin, a senior, who tied the all-time high individual score with 9,641.4.4 points. “But having my team nearby made me more confident. I know exactly why we won – through teamwork!”
“This is the first step towards the goal of winning the state competition,” said Mathew Arnold, Academic Decathlon coach and seven-year veteran GHCHS English teacher. “That’s what we are focused on now – the long road ahead.”
Granada Hills now sets sight on the California Academic Decathlon taking place March 17-20, in Sacramento.
“Heartfelt congratulations to the Granada Hills High School team for their stellar performance,” said L.A. Unified Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson who represents the winning school. “It was most gratifying to witness all of our students, regardless of school model, competing together in this epic academic pursuit. Every student was excited, competitive and determined to do their best.”
Joining Granada Hills Charter High School competing in the California Academic Decathlon contest are Marshall, Franklin, El Camino Real Charter, Garfield, Bell, Van Nuys, Grant, Narbonne, Hamilton, North Hollywood, and first timers- Cleveland Charter and Lincoln.
“There are not enough superlatives to describe the brilliance, efforts, and teamwork of the decathletes and coaches from L.A. Unified,” said Cliff Ker, coordinator for Academic Events. “Their quest for academic excellence becomes more amazing each year. I am so proud of all of them.”
The LAUSD competition took place January 31 and February 6, involving 58 schools. The theme of this year’s Academic Decathlon season is “India,” requiring students to study subjects within that context.
The results were announced Feb. 12, at Hollywood High.
The decathlon consisted of seven objective tests plus a speech, interview, essay and the high stakes Super Quiz. The Super Quiz relay has three rounds of 12 questions, allowing three students from each team only 10 seconds to collaboratively answer. It takes place before To compound a live audience of parents, students, and school officials.
Granada Hills capped its impressive performance with a perfect score of 5,400 in the Super Quiz relay, a total not achieved since 2007.
This year’s winning team members were Lin, Mark Aguila, Ahmad Chaudhry, Baani Dhanoa, Julian Duran, Isha Gupta, Christopher Lo, Kevin Ly, Aishah Mahmud, Melissa Santos, Mayeena Ulkarim and Jorge Zepeda. The coaches are Mathew Arnold, Rachael Phipps and Jon Sturtevant.
The following Decathletes received special recognition and scholarships for the highest scores in these categories:
Perryman Award for Social Studies: Melissa Santos and Joshua Lin;
Larry McCormick Award for Literature: Aishah Mahmud;
Perpetual Trophy for the highest individual score: Joshua Lin.
This was the school’s sixth LAUSD Academic Decathlon title since 2007.
The state champion will advance to the United States Academic Decathlon in Anchorage, Alaska on April 29.
Granada Hills has won four national championships, including last year.