Academic Decathlon Members Give Competing Their All


photo by Kylie Madrid

Decathletes did especially well this year in Math.

by Kylie Madrid, Staff Writer

A somewhat overlooked part of Cypress life is the yearly scholastic competition that groups students of different GPA ranges and abilities into a team. This year, despite having limited access to study materials, Cypress High still decided to compete in this year’s Academic Decathlon.

Students who placed in their respective categories included:

Miranda: 4th Art, 4th Economics, 2nd Math

Jared: 5th Social Science, 4th Music

Malia: 5th Art, 5th Literature, 5th Social Science, 4th Economics, 4th Math, 3rd Speech

Kylie: 5th Art, 5th Science, 4th Music, 1st Economics

Farheen: 3rd Economics, 3rd Math

Savit: 5th Math, 2nd Essay

Ash: 5th Math

Joanna: 4th Interview

Shruti: 4th Economics, 4th Math, 4th Science, 3rd Essay, 3rd Speech, 3rd Literature, 2nd Music, 1st Art

Josh: 3rd Interview

If you’re unfamiliar with the structure of Academic Decathlon, each year has a specific theme, a total of ten events, and an assigned book which ties into the literature portion of the event. The theme for 2023 was the American Revolution, meaning that all of the academic subjects (math, science, literature, economy, music, art, and social studies) would be somehow linked to America’s early years. The other three categories are prepared/impromptu speech, an essay on one of three chosen topics, and a brief interview portion where a small panel of judges asks the interviewees questions about their personal lives.

The sudden departure of the club’s adviser sent the club into a tailspin, until Ms. Tanara graciously stepped up and saved the day, offering to act as the club’s adviser. 

“I didn’t even know Academic Decathlon was a thing before I agreed to advise it. It’s cool to see the kind of things that kids do outside of school. I think a lot of the time people think ‘why would you do something extra,’ but it’s awesome because we had so many people signing up, especially at the beginning!”

Cypress made history last year by being the first Cypress team to qualify for advancement to California’s statewide competition. Unfortunately, Cypress was not able to compete due to schedule availability. Digital study packets are $700 for a full set, which hindered this year’s progress. However, we should still expect notable victories from our team in the near future, they have done their best to prepare for the tests, even without study materials. This years club features more returners than usual, many of which are in this year’s graduating class. The lessons that they learned in Academic Decathlon will no doubt follow them for years to come.

Miranda Chen, Academic Decathlon president, said, “Academic Decathlon has taught me to rely on other people. I struggled a lot with the administrative burdens of being President, to the point where I nearly gave up on renewing the club this year. Being able to share responsibility with my board members released a lot of stress and made the club ultimately successful.”

Ash Hartwig, a returning Academic Decathlon member (2nd year), believed it changed the course of their life, “I’d say that it has improved my life, I’ve met a ton of lifelong friends that I probably would not have even talked to otherwise.” Hartwig has also discovered their passion for impromptu speeches.

Whether you join to feel a part of something, make new friends, or simply because you want to learn something new, there’s a little something for everyone in AcaDeca.