Academic Decathlon in the Races

Andrew Van Chau

What themes are prominent among 1945 Southern Americans? Brief confusion spreads across his face, followed by a cooling smile. He stencils the answer into the document, an easy question. Moving on, his pencil continues to flash back and forth, across the page, making small, slow loops. Bubbling in with apparent ease, after a multitude of tests already, this subject was easy in comparison. But in comparison only, he had been studying for too long to not know at least this.

“We practice by taking quizzes on a daily basis on difficult, detailed material that comprises of ten subjects,” said, senior Vivek Tangudu.

Academic Decathlon is an event where a team from participating schools will take tests based on seven different subjects: social science, economics, science, language and literature, arts, music and math. There are three other events, speech, interview and essay. There is a district event and a state level event.

“We learn a lot of material that you wouldn’t learn in an ordinary classroom,” said, senior Aman Gulrajani.

Every year there is a different theme that influences all of the subjects. For instance, this year’s is World War II, so the science portion of testing is around Nuclear Physics. Each piece of tested material will centralize around this theme.

“Our book Transit is used in the literature section, where we have to know certain comprehensive material and themes that have to do with that perspective,” said Tangudu.

Most of the material is checked through traditional testing, but different sections can be checked differently. The music portion is an audio portion in which the student has to identify different aspects and the artist. Arts is done similarly, with pictures being shown and themes having to be identified along with the artist.

“I like Academic Decathlon because it fosters a team environment for us to learn and compete with other schools,” said Tangudu.

On a regular and persistent basis, the team practices for the district competition in January. They will take practice tests and will study the material, both alone and with the group.

“It’s very rewarding to teach students who have an interest in very difficult, intellectual subjects, said Jeff Cherry, Academic Decathlon teacher.

Academic Decathlon is a class with three returning students and many promising new students.Tompkins has made it to state as of last year.

“I’ve been in Academic Decathlon for three years and I find it as a place to learn about different things of new themes that cover vastly differing material,” said Tangudu.