Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS) bulldozed its competition one last time to win the 2016 United States Academic Decathlon Division I championship. It was the school’s fifth such title in the past six years.
The annual competition, held this year in Anchorage Alaska April 28-30, featured schools in three divisions (small, medium and large). Granada Hills topped 48 other Division I schools — more than 450 students from across the U.S., Canada, China and the United Kingdom — with 54,195.1 points out of a possible 60,000. Highland Park High School in Texas was second with 52, 346.6 points, and Whitney M. Young Magnet High School from Illinois was third with 48,890.1 points.
This year’s winning team of students are Mark Aguila, Julian Duran, Isha Gupta, Joshua Lin, Christopher Lo, Aishah Mahmud, Melissa Santos, Mayeena Ulkarim and Jorge Zepeda. The coaches are Mathew Arnold, Jon Sturtevant, and Rachael Phipps.
Granada Hills also won the 2016 LAUSD and state decathlon championships. It marked the fifth time the school has won all three championships in the same year.
“It’s exciting to win at this level,” said Mathew Arnold, GHCHS English teacher and Academic Decathlon coach, “This win isn’t just for us. It’s a way for the whole school to show our strength. I’m proud of our kids and feel fortunate to be a part of this team.”
The Academic Decathlon is a 10-event scholastic competition for high school students consisting of seven multiple choice tests plus a speech, interview, and essay. The Academic Decathlon divides the competition into three categories based on GPA: Honor (3.75-4.00), Scholastic (3.00-3.74), and Varsity (2.99 or below).
Granada Hills Charter won the top individual scores in all three categories, and also won the fast-paced super quiz round on Friday, April 29.
The 2016 national trophy joins the others GHCHS won in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015.
— Mike Terry