Photo: Jonathan Sturtevant

The victorious Granada Hills Charter High academic decathlon team.

There’s just no stopping Granada Hills Charter High when it comes to winning academic decathlon competitions.

The school now defends its national championship after winning the 2016 state competition in Sacramento, held March 17-20 in Sacramento. Granada Hills’ winning total was 61,149.6 points out of a possible 65,400.

The nine member team will represent the state of California and pursue the state’s 14th consecutive national title at the 34th Annual United States Academic Decathlon Competition, scheduled April 28-30, in Anchorage, Alaska.

Members of the winning team were Aishah Mahmud, Joshua Lin, Melissa Santos, (Honor); Isha Gupta, Jorge Zepeda, Mark Aguila, (Scholastic); Mayeena Ulkarim, Christopher Lo, Julian Duran (Varsity).

“I am so proud of all of our decathletes and coaches,” said Cliff Ker, GHCHS coordinator of Academic Events. “Every year, they work harder and achieve higher goals. They are shining examples for all.”

“Congratulations to the students and coaches at Granada Hills Charter High School” said Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson. “It is so very inspiring that Academic Decathlon teams from the West Valley continue a tradition of academic excellence and achievement. We are extremely proud of our students who, year-after-year, embody the spirit of hard work and distinguish themselves as true champions.”

Marshall High School finished as runner-up and will participate in April for the national online competition in the large school category.

Other LAUSD teams that finished in the Top Ten include El Camino Real Charter, and Los Angeles schools Bell and Franklin.

In all, 600 students representing 69 high school teams statewide competed in this year’s California Academic Decathlon. Teams are composed of three Honor students (3.75 and above GPA); three Scholastic students (3.00-3.74 GPA); and three Varsity students (2.99 GPA and below).

Decathletes compete in 10-quiz events, involving speech, interviews, essay, art, economics, language and literature, mathematics, music, social science and the Super Quiz. The scores of all 10 quizzes are tallied together.

This year’s study topic was India.

“Congratulations to all of our decathletes and especially the Granada Hills Charter HS team and coaches,” said Michelle King, district’s superintendent of schools. “The cherished memories from these exciting competitions will only grow fonder over time as you look back and remember your fun high school years.

“You are all remarkable, special and dedicated. Thank you for proudly representing the L.A. Unified family.”

Granada Hills previously won state and national decathlons from 2011-2013, and 2015. LAUSD schools have won16 national titles since 1986, along with 22 state championships.

In other competition news, Granada Hills and Marshall tied for first place in the Super Quiz competition with a perfect score. El Camino Real and Bell finished second in the Super Quiz.

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