Hemet High Competes in Academic Decathlon

West Valley wins top honor at Academic Decathlon
The Hemet school finished on top for the fifth year in a row
BY EMILY M. WELLS

   STAFF WRITER ewells@pe.com 
   Hemet’s West Valley High School made it five victories in a row Saturday, Feb. 2, at the Riverside County Academic Decathlon.

   Second place went to Elsinore High School, while Hemet High School finished third.

   The competition began Saturday, Jan. 26, with essay writing, speeches and interview events. Nineteen high school teams from Riverside County and more than 180 students participated. The competition continued Saturday with seven written tests and the Super Quiz competition.

   Students must be wellrounded to succeed in the decathlon. Competition categories include art, economics, essay, interview, language and literature, mathematics, music, science, social science and speech. Each team is also diverse academically. — They have nine members, including three “honor” students with a 3.75-4.0 GPA, three “scholastic” students with GPAs between 3.0 and 3.75, and three “varsity” team members with GPAs of 0.0-2.99.

   This year’s theme was “Russia.” In the Super 
Quiz, teams sent a panel of three competitors to the front of the Heritage High School gymnasium in Menifee. Each panel sat with a moderator. They were asked a multiple-choice question and had seven seconds to respond by marking their answer with a pencil. After the seven seconds, the moderator held up a sign, signaling how many of the three students answered the question correctly. Elsinore High won the Super Quiz.

   The county decathlon is 
sponsored by the Riverside County Office of Education.

   Team spirit played an integral role in the event. Teams wore matching Tshirts, hats, or bandanas, and often had coordinated team cheers. Moreno Valley High School team member Patrick Samones said this is part of the value of the competition.

   “We prepared a lot compared to last year, but we also bonded more as a team,” he said.

   His teammate Nellowfar Ahmadi agreed.

   “We all enjoyed the competition very much,” she said.

   Nellowfar was thrilled to be competing on the team after moving up from her role last year as an alternate.

   West Valley will advance to the California Academic Decathlon, set for March 14-17 in Sacramento. The winner will move to the United States Academic Decathlon, April 24-27 in Minneapolis .

   “It's definitely given me a better appreciation for studying and all the time that everybody has to put into this,” said West Valley team member Justin McCallin. “I spend my entire year doing this, so obviously I've learned quite a bit.”
FRANK BELLINO/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

   Members of Hemet’s West Valley High School team take part in the Riverside County Academic Decathlon at Heritage High School in Menifee on Saturday. The team took first place.

La Sierra High School’s Alfredo Ochoa studies one of the questions during the Super Quiz.

Hemet High School’s James Estrada, Christin Giorgianni and Mason Rafferty react during the Super Quiz.

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