A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Academic Decathlon

Have you ever heard of the Thunderbird Academic Decathlon team before? If not, I don’t blame you. I had never heard of it until I joined last year. It’s not a very well known club on our campus, but boy is it a cool one! This year our very own team advanced past the first level of the competition and made it to the state competition! Let me break it down for you. 

AcaDeca is an academic-based club, obviously, with a different, random competition theme each year. For example, last year’s theme was the “1960s” and this year’s theme is “Health and Medicine.” The competition lasts two days, a Friday and a Saturday. There are ten different areas that each member must compete in, hence the name “decathlon.” Those areas include literature, math, science, social science, music, art, economics, writing, speech, as well as an interview. Each team is split into three sections based on GPA, going from Varsity to Scholastic to Honors.

On January 31st and February 1st, the Thunderbird Academic Decathlon team competed in the 2020 competition that was held here at our school. There is a different host school each year, and this year it just so happened to be Thunderbird. On Friday night, we gave our memorized speeches and did an interview. The following day, we got up bright and early to begin our five hours of testing starting at 8 AM. That’s the tedious part of the competition, but everything else is fun! After the testing, we ate lunch and then participated in the SuperQuiz, a speed round quiz where you compete with the two other people in your GPA category on your team. After the excitement of the day is over, the tension settles in at the awards ceremony. This year we were pleased to find out that Bailee Roeder placed third and received a bronze medal for her memorized speech on water conservation! Not only did one of our members receive an award, but the whole team also placed high enough to advance to the state level of the competition. State is scheduled to take place on March 6th and 7th at Hamilton High School in Chandler. This gives the team time to polish up their speeches and study up for another round of tests. If we advance to the National competition, we will all be taking a trip to Anchorage, Alaska.

My favorite part about being in Academic Decathlon is that I get to be around a group of really cool kids that I maybe wouldn’t have hung out with otherwise. It’s a great club that pushes your ability to think quickly as well as retain information on many given subjects. Wish us luck in our upcoming competition!