Academic Decathlon—What exactly is it?
Academic Decathlon is a nationwide program dedicated to academic excellence in high schools. Here at Hamilton, Academic Decathlon functions as both a class and a club. Competitions are open to all students, regardless of class or club status, and the final team of nine students is usually a combination of both. However, we strongly recommend that new decathletes enroll in the class to provide dedicated study time and build team camaraderie.
AcDec is a weighted honors elective that serves two functions:
1) to better prepare students for local, state, and national Decathlon competitions
2) to provide an enriched, integrated curriculum that enhances the standard high school experience
Students who enroll in the class are not required to compete. However, they are strongly encouraged to attend the first competition simply to experience all AcDec has to offer. For first time participants, the class is definitely the easiest way to familiarize yourself with the program.
The AcDec Club consists of students who have opted to compete but don’t have room for the class in their schedules, as well as students who are in the class and have opted to compete. The club meets every Thursday at Barnes and Noble at San Tan Village Mall from 6-8 PM each week throughout the Fall. In order to compete, students must attend two hours of club study time per week. This requirement can be fulfilled in C105 or M8 after school Monday-Wednesday or at Barnes and Noble on Thursdays. As the year progresses, we may have special afterschool sessions with guest speakers. Attendance at these sessions is mandatory.
As competitions draw near, students will have additional (optional) practices/study sessions. While I understand that all students will not be able to make all meetings, attendance is included as a deciding factor when choosing the final competition team. In order to excel in this competition, additional study time is absolutely necessary—it’s the only way we can maintain our competitive edge in the valley.
Students who choose to do this only as a club without taking the class can succeed but must be self-disciplined enough to carve out study time in addition to the club meetings.
Each AcDec team needs a balance of Honors (”A”) students, Scholastic (“B”) students, and Varsity (“C”) students. All students in the class and the club are eligible for the November scrimmage held at Hamilton. Competition scores from the scrimmages will then be added to practice test scores and attendance points to determine the top competitors in each area (Honors, Schol., Varsity). Those students will advance to the Williams Field Invitational in January. Scores will again be calculated to narrow the team to the final 9 who will compete in Regionals in February. Students who are eliminated from the final competition team are still part of AcDec and are expected to continue to study and work with the team in order to a) increase their chances of making the team the following year and b) to help the Hamilton competition team score as well as possible at Regionals and State. THIS IS A TEAM EFFORT.
Decathletes are tested in ten academic areas:
3) Language and Literature
5) Economics6) Math
7) Social Science (History)
Categories 1-7 are multiple-choice tests administered at the competition site, while 8-10 are performance events. In addition, the entire team competes in an additional team event, the Super Quiz, which consists of questions from all objective events except Math. This is the only public event of the competition—your friends and family are encouraged to attend and cheer you on!
The three performance events consist of: an essay, a speech (both prepared and impromptu), and an interview. The essay lasts 50 minutes, and you will write on one of six topics. The interview is a professional, judged, panel interview, for which you will prepare a resume. The speech consists of two components: a 3.5-4 minute pre-memorized, prepared speech on any topic of your choosing; and a 1.5-2 minute impromptu speech that you will choose from three topics given at the competition. Formal business attire is required for both the speech and interview.
Individual scores are simply the sum of scores in all events and are out of 10,000 points. Our team score is the sum of the top two students in each category (Honors, Scholastics, Varsities), plus the team Super Quiz score. This means that students of all levels are critical to the team’s success.
Feel free to ask an officer or Ms. Turner or Ms. Trotti with any questions. You can also refer to the Hamilton website www.hamiltonhuskies.com and click on the “Activities” page to access the Academic Decathlon website and view pictures and competition results. Further information is available through our student maintained webstie: sites.google.com/site/academicdecathlonhhs