With a well-rounded team, mixing veterans and first year participants, the Escalon High School Academic Decathlon Team will soon battle it out with other schools in San Joaquin County for top academic honors.
“Our competition date for the starters is (Saturday) Jan. 25 and the entire team will compete on Feb. 1,” said AcaDec advisor George Megenney.
The starters will take part in a variety of competitions this weekend and include three participants in each of three grade level squads.
Honors participants are Anastassya Zack, Maggie Casteel and Farley Moore; Scholastic team members are Melinda Taggart, David Esparza and Giovanni Hermosillo; with the Varsity team including Christopher Hunter, Francis Rosales and Devin Amos.
A veteran of competition, four-year AcaDec participant Anastassya Zack is once again looking forward to the ‘brain battle.’
“I’ve always been interested in it, I was in AcaPen (Academic Pentathlon) a couple of times at the middle school and I wanted to join some clubs when I got to high school, that’s when I found AcaDec,” Zack explained.
She said you do have to read a lot to get informed on the wide variety of topics featured on the tests and Super Quizzes over the years, and it’s not always easy.
“You work really hard,” she admitted. “I like the speech or the interview the best, I am pretty good at both of those.”
Starters have the chance to take part in delivering speeches and being interviewed during the opening round of competition, while the second Saturday features ‘pencil and paper’ tests for the starters and all team members, in addition to the Super Quiz.
Third year participant Giovanni Hermosillo, a senior, has gained knowledge and enjoys being involved.
“I like being part of a team,” he said, adding that the music tests are his favorites. “We all work together.”
Sophomore Farley Moore is in her second year and said she likes the literature portion the best.
“I’m not really nervous,” she added of facing off with older competitors. “I did (AcaPen) in seventh and eighth grade and now I’m just excited and as prepared as I can be.”
For senior Devin Amos, this is his first year participating.
“Mr. Megenney said he really wanted me to be on the team,” Amos said of why he got involved. “We have a lot of fun during the meetings and I’m not too worried about the competition.”
He plans on doing his best and said while there has been a lot of work put in to the preparation for the testing, he has also had a good time bonding with his fellow student competitions.
This year’s Super Quiz covers the history of World War I, with the students taking that test individually as well, but combining for an overall team score.