Forty-six SISD high school students placed in the regional Academic Decathlon, a ten-event scholastic competition where students compete in the rigorous contest consisting of several tests on numerous topics, including math, literature, art, science, social science, speech and essays.
The students weathered a difficult virtual season and came out on the other side victorious. SISD teams won all three divisions (small, medium and large) and earned the most points to put them at the top.
Mission Early College High School was the small division winner, El Dorado High School was the medium division winner and Montwood High School was the large division winner.
“This is the first time ever that Team SISD sweeps the entire region,” said Stephanie Carrasco, Coordinator of Advanced Academics. “This is phenomenal, usually we have one or two divisions to take it, but this year, we won all three divisions!”
The students typically travel to compete at the state competition but this year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, they were able to compete virtually and still receive state recognition.
Academic Decathlon has a different theme every year. This year’s focus was on the Cold War and the history behind it.
“It was very uplifting seeing the students get ready for Academic Decathlon this year,” said Drew Dungan, teacher and student activities director at Mission Early College High School. “All of their hard work definitely paid off and I am so proud of them.”
From the ten subjects in the competition each student is given seven multiple choice tests, a speech section which is done live, a timed written essay and an interview section which ultimately totals the teams’ final score.
Rachel Salcido, a senior at Montwood High School earned bronze in mathematics, silver in science, and gold in the interview section. She has participated in Academic Decathlon since her freshman year and said the competition has always taught her things she doesn’t necessarily learn in the classroom.
“Despite all the challenges we’ve faced from this past year I am so glad that we were still able to compete,” Salcido said. “This competition definitely helps us prepare for what lies ahead of us which is college and then career readiness.”
2020-2021 Academic Decathlon SISD winners:
Americas High School
Jessica De La Rosa
Teacher: Virginia Gardea
Eastlake High School
Teacher: Ivan Gatewood
Montwood High School
Teacher: Daniela Gonzalez
Pebble Hills High School
Anthony St. Germaine
Teacher: Maria Paiz
Socorro High School
Teacher: Samantha Manley
El Dorado High School
Teacher: Paula Woods
Mission Early College High School
Teacher: Drew Dungan