Sure, it’s Super Bowl weekend, and maybe a lot of people’s attention is focused on Sunday’s showdown between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts.
But listen up! Some of our best and brightest East Bay teens will be vying for a major championship themselves the day before: the team that wins Contra Costa County’s 2010 Academic Decathlon. Some 150 ninth through 12th graders will compete this weekend to represent Contra Costa County at the California Academic Decathlon, to be held in Sacramento, March 12-15. This year's Nation Academic Decathlon will be held April 21-24, in Omaha, Nebraska.
The county’s decathlon, which has taken place over two Saturdays, will conclude this Saturday. Directed by the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) , the Academic Decathlon provides an opportunity for ninth-12th grade high school students to compete as individuals and teams in a series of 10 academic tests and demonstrations that include: art, economics, language and literature, mathematics, music, science, essay, interview, and speech (prepared and impromptu). Close to 150 students have been studying and preparing for this event with their coaches since September. This year, the theme of the decathlon, including the Super Quiz Topic, is the French Revolution.
According to Jonathan Lance, who is with the Contra Costa County Office of Education, there will be a maximum of three students in each of the following divisions: Honors (3.75-4.00 GPA), Scholastic (3.00-3.74 GPA) and Varsity (2.99 GPA and below).
I’m in awe of kids these days who excel in various ways: sports, arts, academics. I know it can be fashionable to grumble about how “kids these days" are spoiled brats with way too much personal freedom, as well as disposable income to spend on video games, mobile devices, and drugs.
I’m sure that’s the case for some kids. But I also come across 15-, 16-, and 17-year-olds who definitely have their s--- together better than I did at that age. They are polite, motivated, curious, passionate, idealistic. They have grand ideas about changing the world, and they already have their blueprints in place for making that happen. And, frankly, I think they are under so much more pressure to fit into some kind of 21st century definition of “success.”
I want to give a shout out to the various teams competing this Saturday in the finals of the county’s 2010 Academic Decathlon. Besides Las Lomas, Northgate and Acalanes, which are attended by Walnut Creek students, the other teams vying for the championship are: American (Fremont), Antioch, California (San Ramon), Campolindo (Moraga), Freedom (Oakley), Miramonte (Orinda), and Pittsburg.
Lance says that more than 1 million students have participated in the United States Academic Decathlon since 1968. It has become known as the first and most comprehensive program to promote and recognize academic achievement for all students.
Saturday’s event will take place 8 a.m. to 4 p.m in the gym at Los Medanos Colleg, 2700 E. Leland Rd., Pittsburg. The SuperQuiz begins about 2:30 p.m., finishing around 3:45 p.m.
The Academic Decathlon Awards Ceremony will take place Wednesday, February 10, 6:30 p.m. at the Contra Costa County Office of Education (Stewart Building), 77 Santa Barbara Rd., Pleasant Hill.
For more information about the Academic Decathlon, contact Karen Rice, Event Coordinator, CCCOE, 925-942-3400, or firstname.lastname@example.org.