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Academic Decathlon Team Preps For Battle

Escalon High School’s Academic Decathlon team is getting in a final few study sessions as they prepare for the academic battle, hosted each year through the San Joaquin County Office of Education.

This year, the team has a new head coach, Josh Cohen, who took over from longtime coach George Megenney. The Times conducted a ‘Q&A’ with the coach regarding the event and his new role as coach.

Following are the questions and coach Cohen’s responses.


Question: This is your first year leading the Escalon team. What do you teach at EHS and have you previously coached an AcaDec team or is this your first time?

Answer: I teach Earth Science, Chemistry, and AP Chemistry at EHS. This is my first time coaching Academic Decathlon, but I participated in the competition in high school.


Q: Who are your starters and what level (Honors, Scholastic or Varsity) do they represent this year?

A: Honors: Matthew Lima, 12th grade; Gloria Rodriguez, 10th; Sherry Tseng, 10th.

Scholastic: Jude Anderson, 12th; Josh McDonald, 11th.

Varsity: Drake Arnold, 11th; Ernesto Perez, 11th.


Q: What is the Super Quiz topic?

A: The competition theme is Africa.


Q: When/where has the team been meeting and what is a typical study session like for you?

A: We have been meeting in my classroom on Fridays between 3:10 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. Typically, the participants will study the packets of materials and we will discuss any topics they want more information on. I have also given mini-lectures on some of the topics, especially in science, and we have practiced quite a few math problems.


Q: How many participants do you have in all?

A: There are eight people participating. There are supposed to be three participants per level, with the top two scores being tabulated, but teams are allowed to participate as long as there are two for each level.


Q: What events are coming up on Jan. 27? What will the following Saturday be like and when/where are the events being hosted?

A: The first event was the essay, which was done on Jan. 23 in the EHS library. Then, on Saturday, Jan. 27, the participants will give speeches and interviews at the San Joaquin County Office of Education in Stockton. The following Saturday, Feb. 3, the participants will take a test in Music, Art, Literature, Social Science, Economics, Math, and Science at Lathrop High School.


Q: Who on the team has the most experience and do you have some first time participants?


A: Matthew Lima and Jude Anderson were starters last year, and Gloria Rodriguez and Sherry Tseng also participated. The other three are first time participants.