Miners strike gold in Academic Decathlon

El Diamante High School team finishes first in all but one contest; will represent Tulare County at state championship

The Sun-Gazette

TULARE COUNTY – El Diamante High School won this year’s Academic Decathlon in such a dominating fashion, it would have made Olympic legend Bob Mathias proud. 

There was nothing minor about the Miners’ accomplishments as El Diamante Team No. 3 swept all but one of the 10 events during the Tulare County Office of Education’s annual competition, including the Super Quiz. The El D team boasted the top student in each division in the final rounds on Feb. 1. Yibo Liang topped the Honor Division (3.75-4 GPA), Carol Huang was head of the Scholastic Division (3-3.74 GPA) and Carter House led the Varsity Division (0-2.99 GPA). Liang also took home first place finishes in the Economics, Mathematics and Science, which shed tied with teammate Ethan Jarocki. David Zegarra finished first in four of the 10 contests (Art, Literature, Music and Speech) and Arjon Batth was tops in Social Science. El Diamante swept the Interview contest with a four-way tie between Huang, Emily Arroyo, Isaiah Boriphanvichitr and Devin Prado. Other members of the team included Katherine Jolly, Fabian Chitay and Steven Perez. 

The only contest winner not from El Diamante was Alexys Prado of Granite Hills High School in Porterville who took first place in the Essay contest. In addition to Granite Hills, El Diamante beat out four other teams in the Large Schools division finals: Dinuba High School, Orosi High School and Tulare Western High School and Mission Oak High School in Tulare. Teams in the Small School division were Woodlake High School and Harmony Magnet Academy in Strathmore.

The 10-event scholastic competition began with 16 teams of Tulare County students from eight high schools. Each team has six to nine members contending in 10 grueling events. The teams are made up of equal numbers (either two or three students) from the three grade point divisions: Varsity (0-2.99 GPA), Scholastic (3-3.74 GPA) and Honors (3.75-4 GPA). Team members test their knowledge of subjects including economics, social science, mathematics, music, art, language and literature, and science. In addition, the contestants present prepared and impromptu speeches, written essays on given topics, and undergo interviews by a panel of judges. This year’s national competition theme is “In Sickness and in Health: An Exploration of Illness and Wellness.” A small portion of the questions in the competition segments relate to the national theme.

The academic relay known as the oral “Super Quiz” is the final competitive event. Questions in this year’s Super Quiz topic are all related to the national theme. The Super Quiz round of competition took place on Feb. 1 at TCOE’s Conference Center on Mooney Boulevard in Visalia. The awards ceremony began immediately following the Super Quiz.

“Few other competitions engage students of various academic levels in the study of so many subject matters,” said Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Tim Hire. “In addition, Academic Decathlon is helping to build writing, communication, and speaking skills through its essay, interview, and speech competitions – skills that will serve students well into college and career.”

El Diamante High School will represent Tulare County at the state Academic Decathlon championship in Sacramento March 27-28. For more information about the Academic Decathlon, contact Cari Carlson at (559) 651-3031, ext. 3358.

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