After qualifying last year to attend the Academic Decathlon Nationals in Minnesota for the first time in school history, this year’s Wellesley High School Academic Decathlon (Acadec) team is again aiming high. The team is currently led by senior captains and Acadec veterans Shayla King and Derek Mui, and junior captain Ben Workman. Ben is the reigning Massachusetts Acadec State Champion and Division IV National Champion.
Round 1 competitions were held at Quincy High School on Nov. 23. Although the team came in 4th place overall, the results were extremely close with only a few points separating the 2nd -4th place teams. In addition to the captains, strong performances were achieved by Darin Chaoui, Jacob Landau, and Arnav Jain. The team’s next regional competition will be held on Feb. 1, followed by the state competition on Feb. 29. This year’s nationals will be held in Anchorage, Alaska.
Academic Decathlon is a national and international competition that includes seven objective tests (math, literature, social science, art, music, science, and economics) focused on a common theme. The 2019-20 theme is “In Sickness and
Health: Exploration of Illness and Wellness.” In addition to the seven theme-based objective tests, there are three subjective events (speech, essay, and interview). In order to beat teams from other schools and earn medals, decathletes must spend time reviewing college-level material, write a short speech, write an essay, and get interviewed. Competitions end with a game show-like Super Quiz relay, which is a fun, low-pressure event.
Wellesley’s Acadec team members compete in three divisions based on GPA (Honors, Scholastic and Varsity). The team is currently in need of Varsity division members, so any student interested should reach out to one of the captains or Mr. Ryan Liacos, team faculty advisor and coach. This is a fabulous opportunity to participate in state (and possibly national) competitions, bolster a college resume and build interview skills. As stated on the Massachusetts Academic Decathlon website, “students from all academic backgrounds have the opportunity … to discover and embrace the thrill of learning and academic exploration that soon turns into a lifelong pursuit of knowledge.”