Participants share benefits of Academic Decathlon team

Students in Academic Decathlon learn skills that will help them throughout high school and in college.

Mary Stempky, Reporter

Last year, team members merely prepared for competition. But this year on Jan. 21, members of the school’s new academic decathlon team will compete for the first time.

According to Principal Mr. Dave Worland, who serves as one of the team’s coaches, academic decathlon is a competition in which a school team will competes against other Indiana high schools as well as schools from across the country. The decathlon is open to students of all GPAs, with the competition is divided into three divisions based upon the participant’s grade point average.

“(Students) compete with (other students with) the same GPA when it’s time to actually compete,” Worland said.

On of these future competitors is junior Esther Louis. She said that she joined the team because it provides her with several different experiences. “I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn more about the world,” Louis said.

According to Worland, Although this will be the first year the school has a team taking part in the decathlon, this is the second year the school has had a team. Last year provided the opportunity for the team to get ready to compete this year. “(The school ) had a team last year, but it was just wasn’t competitive team. We just worked internally,,” Worland said.

Media center assistant Ms. Rachel Monk, who also serves as the decathlon coach, and Worland agreed there are many benefits to the academic competition. According to Worland, He said that the decathlon prepares students to learn in different ways outside of a classroom environment. “It’s a fun way to learn and (students) learn at (their) own pace and interest,” Worland said

According to Monk, participants learn many vital skills they will use in life. “(Students) gain a lot of experience giving speeches, conducting interviews and writing resumes,” Monk said.

This increased proficiency is one of senior Riley McHugh’s favorite aspects of being a team member. “The knowledge I gain by putting time and effort into learning makes the time commitment worth it,” McHugh said in an email.

According to Louis, decathlon is somewhat time consuming but beneficial. “(Decathlon) takes effort; you actually have to try,” Louis said.

“(Decathlon) is an experience that makes all students want to know random information,” McHugh said.

This commitment is something that Monk realizes, but she still would encourage other students to be part of the club. “I am willing to work with anyone who wants to join,” Monk said.

According to McHugh, she said she believes that students should not worry about how much time they have or innate knowledge they possess. “Everyone can learn and enjoy (doing it),” she said.

Worland said that he believes that decathlon is extremely important because it allows any of the the school’s 1,200 students to get involved in a wholesome and educational environment. He also said that he believes the school should have more scholastic outlets. The principal said, “(The school needs) more academic specific clubs that students can take advantage of.”
And on Jan. 21, members of the academic decathlon will do exactly that when they compete for the first time.