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Academic Decathlon

California Academic decathlon

Nine teams from Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) participated in the California Academic Decathlon competition in Sacramento. They joined 59 other schools from across the state for three days of giving speeches, sharing interviews and taking tests to demonstrate their knowledge of the 1960’s.

Students from LAUSD excelled both individually and as teams. Julia Gomez from Valley Academy of Arts & Sciences was a top scoring scholastic student from Division 3 schools with a total of 7,088.60 out of 10,000 points. Naim Wright from Westchester Magnet, also from Division 3, was the highest scoring student with 8,343.60 points.

LAUSD had four winners from Division 2.  Varsity team member Diego Mora from Bell HS earned 6,975.60 points. Scholastic students Langston Prince from Marshall High School and Daniel Cardenas from Bell High School earned 7,557.60 points and 7,724.90 points respectively. In addition, honor student Alan Cuevas from Bell HS earned 8,594.40 points for recognition.

Special acknowledgement goes to the following students for earning perfect scores of 1000 in individual events:

  • Mathematics - Brennan Azizi, Grant High School
  • Speech - Brandon Colechio, Valley Academy of Arts & Sciences
  • Interview - Albert Liu, North Hollywood High School


Overall team scores were as follows:

  • First place - Division 3, Valley Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • First place - Division 2, Bell High School
  • Third place - Division 1, Grant High School


All participating students, their tireless coaches and supportive administrative teams deserve congratulations and praise for jobs well done!

Program Overview

The Academic Decathlon is an educational competition designed for high school students from all academic achievement levels. Teams are comprised of 9 students, decathletes, who compete in 10 areas and an academic relay, Super Quiz, to demonstrate their knowledge and proficiency of a specific theme. Students participate in 30-minute objective tests covering Literature, Mathematics, Social Science, Science, Art, Economics and Music separately. There is also a 50-minute essay, 3.5-4-minute prepared speech, a shorter 1.5-2-minute impromptu speech and a 7-minute interview for each student. A new topic of study is selected by the United States Academic Decathlon each year.

Founded in 1968 by the late D. Robert Peterson, a former Orange County Superintendent of Schools, the Academic Decathlon continues to be an asset for all students involved. It provides a platform for students to utilize 21st century skills while challenging themselves and each other to be creative, think critically, communicate and collaborate to be a winning team. The program teaches practical life skills such as time management, organization, and interviewing.

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), has been involved with Academic Decathlon since 1981, hosting both state and national competitions at various times. LAUSD has sent the greatest numbers of high scoring teams to state competition, 14 in 2018, and holds the record for the most state titles with twenty-three. District schools have won the National title nineteen times as well.  

The success of the Academic Decathlon is shared by the students, their coaches and teachers, the supportive administrators at their schools and the understanding and flexibility of their families. Countless hours are spent learning, researching and practicing for the competitions.

The competitions are coordinated by LAUSD central office personnel. They are dependent on hundreds of volunteers to serve as speech and interview judges, essay readers, test and Super Quiz proctors. Schools are responsible for recruiting volunteers and central office works with alumni, District staff, community, and educational groups to ensure enough volunteers are present at each event. Schools are expected to recruit 4 volunteers, including one school administrator to serve as a volunteer during the 2 days of competition.

Purposes of the Academic Decathlon
  • To encourage students to develop a greater respect for knowledge
  • To promote wholesome inter-school competition in academic areas of study and interest
  • To stimulate intellectual growth and achievement
  • To encourage public interest and awareness of outstanding programs in American schools
2019-20 Key Dates



January 23, 2020

Essay (On Line)

Individual Schools

January 25, 2020

Objective Tests (On line)

Location(s) TBD

February 1, 2020

8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Roybal Learning Center

1200 Colton Street, Los Angeles 90026

Competition Day

Interview and Speech Events

3:00 - 5:00 pm

Super Quiz – Open to the Public

February 8, 2020

1:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Awards Ceremony – Hollywood High School

1521 N. Hollywood Ave Los Angeles 90028


March 26 – 29, 2020



State Competition – Sacramento, CA


April 30 – May 2, 2020



National Competition – Anchorage, AL



We need your help to support the upcoming competitions! Volunteers are needed. For a few hours on one day you can support student success and pride in academic achievements!

Volunteer Today

The Team

Each school is to have a team consisting of nine members, all of whom are to be full-time students (four or more classes) from the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and/or twelfth grades.  The members are to include three students from each of the categories listed below.


Grade Point Average


3.75  - 4.00


3.00  - 3.74


2.99  or below

Competition Events

All nine team members will compete in all of the following academic events:

Objective tests:

  • Art
  • Economics
  • Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Science
  • Social Science




Super Quiz Relay
If a Decathlete does not compete in the essay, interview, and speech events on Day 1 of the competition, he/she will not be eligible to compete in the objective tests and Super Quiz on Day 2. The only exceptions will be granted for illness or family emergency. A written excuse from the parents/guardians and signed by the Coach will be required.