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Escalon High Students Gear Up For Decathlon
Looking forward to leading the Escalon High School Academic Decathlon team into this weekends competition are starters including, clockwise from bottom left, Matthew Lima, Brooke Anderson, Rachel Swift and Roxana Morales. Marg Jackson/The Times

The San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) is hosting the 36th Annual Academic Decathlon Competition this weekend, with students from several high schools – including Escalon – ready to do battle.

The 2017 theme is World War II and the Super Quiz event and awards ceremony are open to the public on Saturday, Feb. 4 at Lathrop High School, 647 Spartan Way, Lathrop. The Super Quiz starts at 2 p.m.; awards follow at about 3:30 p.m.

Escalon’s competing team includes Roxana Morales, Matthew Lima, Brooke Anderson, Brytton Mellor, Rachel Swift, John Hunter and Alexander Garza.

Swift, a senior, joined in for the first time this year.

“The topic this year is World War II and that really fascinates me,” Swift explained. “I came in not knowing a whole lot about it; it surprised me how much fun the practices are.”

Essays and speeches were held previously, Jan. 28, but this weekend will see all the competing team members take part in the Super Quiz and another battery of tests in multiple subjects, with alternates also taking tests in the various subjects.

Junior Brooke Anderson is another first year participant.

“I just wanted to learn more, I’m a little nervous but the practices have been good,” she said.

She feels she has benefited from listening to teammates’ speeches, which have helped her improve her own.

Junior Matthew Lima is back for a second year on the team but his first as a starter.

“I have more responsibilities this year, my score affects the other teammates so I want to do more, work to improve for the team,’ he said.

A senior, Morales is a returning veteran to the starting team, back for a second year, starting as a sophomore and now again as a senior.

“You just have to trust that you won’t get nervous,” she said of performing in the tough academic setting. “I’d say history and social science are my favorite areas.”

She also pointed to the Super Quiz as being “the most unnerving” because all eyes are on those involved, but she said she is hopeful that this year’s team will do a good job representing the school.

George Megenney returns for another year as advisor of the AcaDec group.

Along with Escalon, other schools scheduled to compete include Lathrop, Lincoln, Manteca, McNair, Middle College, Tracy, Merrill F. West, Cesar E. Chavez, Millennium, and Mountain House high schools, as well as Stockton Early College Academy.