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Student Academic Competition Heats Up In Stockton
One Saturday down, one Saturday to go.

Members of the full Academic Decathlon team in Escalon will be on the road to Stockton on Feb. 4, as all will have the chance to grab some medals in the annual Battle of the Brains in the San Joaquin County Academic Decathlon.

The squad will also be wearing specially designed, personalized AcaDec T-shirts that they were busy working on over the past week.

Senior Cindy Gutierrez is taking part in the decathlon for the first time this year.

She said her involvement is due to the AcaDec coach, teacher George Megenney, who inspired her to give it a try.

"I'm not a starter but I thought it would be fun," Gutierrez said. "It has been pretty tough and it takes a lot of time."

Gutierrez was also the driving force in students designing their own shirts, so they could go as a team but with their individuality still showing through.

"My shirt says 'band geek' because I have always been in band," admitted senior Rosemarie Thomson, one of those on the starting team for EHS. "This is my first time as a decathlon starter."

This past weekend, the starters gave their prepared and impromptu speeches as well as wrote essays and were interviewed. Thomson chose 'Why we should keep band and music in schools' as her speech topic.

Both seniors said they like the interaction with the other students and learning more about a variety of topics through the competition.

"We study during class, we study at home," Gutierrez said of the time and effort involved.

Coach Megenney said the starters all seemed energized following the first weekend of competition.

"I think it went pretty well, they were all positive, upbeat," he said. "This week, we'll continue going over lots of material, every day."

Twenty-six students are expected to make the trip to UOP for Saturday's second round, with the starting team then also representing Escalon in the Super Quiz on Saturday afternoon at the Stockton Scottish Rite Auditorium.

"We're busy, busy, busy," Megenney said.