Canyon High School takes the Orange County Academic Decathlon championship

OCADCanyon High School in the Orange Unified School District has earned top honors in this year’s Orange County Academic Decathlon.

With 50,675.50 total points, the Canyon squad was announced as the Overall Team Winner by the Orange County Academic Decathlon Association and OCDE on Tuesday night, drawing a round of uproarious applause in front of a packed crowd at Santa Ana High School’s Bill Medley Auditorium. Along with a plaque and scores of individual medals, the school picked up a $3,000 travel stipend to take on the best teams from 38 counties at the California Academic Decathlon in March.

And Canyon High isn’t the only local school that punched its ticket to the state contest.

By earning team scores that were among the highest in California, Valencia High School in the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District, Woodbridge High in the Irvine Unified School District and Westminster High in the Huntington Beach Union High School District also received invitations to compete at the state level. (Westminster was last year’s champion.)

Here’s a breakdown of this year’s winning Orange County teams by division:

DIVISION 1

  • 1st Place: Canyon High School, Orange Unified School District    
  • 2nd Place: Valencia High School, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District  
  • 3rd Place: Woodbridge High School, Irvine Unified School District
  • 4th Place: Westminster High School, Huntington Beach Union High School District
  • 5th Place: Trabuco Hills High School, Saddleback Valley Unified School District

DIVISION 2

  • 1st Place: Fountain Valley High School, Huntington Beach Union High School District
  • 2nd Place: Esperanza High School, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District
  • 3rd Place: Corona del Mar High School, Newport-Mesa Unified School District
  • 4th Place: Sonora High School, Fullerton Joint Union High School District
  • 5th Place: El Dorado High School, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District

DIVISION 3

  • 1st Place: Cornelia Connelly School, Private School
  • 2nd Place: Foothill High School, Tustin Unified School District       
  • 3rd Place: Yorba Linda High School, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District
  • 4th Place: Santiago High School, Garden Grove Unified School District  
  • 5th Place: Saddleback High School, Santa Ana Unified School District

Organized at the county, state and local levels, Academic Decathlons are scholastic contests in which nine-member teams battle for the highest scores on multiple-choice exams, speeches, interviews and essay assignments. Each team must include three “Honor” students (those with GPAs of 3.75 or above), three “Scholastic” students (GPAs of 3.00 to 3.74) and three “Varsity” students (GPAs of 2.99 or below). Each 10-event contest culminates with the popular Super Quiz Relay, which is held in front of a live audience. (You can learn more on the OCDE’s Academic Decathlon 101 webpage.)

Kristin Rigby, an OCDE program specialist of academic events, told us that Canyon High just rejoined the Orange County Academic Decathlon last year after a lengthy hiatus. The team is coached by teacher Khoa Dao, a former decathlete from Westminster High School, which advanced to the state competition when he participated.

The Orange County Academic Decathlon program is sponsored by the nonprofit Orange County Academic Decathlon Association and administered by OCDE. It’s also supported by the generous donations of community members and sponsors, including NuVision Federal Credit Union, C2 Education, Del Taco LLC, the Orange County Register, Learning.com, Aeries Software, Inc. and Teacher Created Materials.

Westminster High leads a pack of five OC schools headed to the California Academic Decathlon

WestminsterPM

Marking a first in the 47-year history of the Orange County Academic Decathlon, five O.C. schools have been selected to advance to the state decathlon in Sacramento.

Cheers rang out in a packed Orange Coast College auditorium on the night of Feb. 17 as perennial powerhouse Westminster High was named the overall team winner with 50,981.8 points. Along with a special plaque, individual medals and local bragging rights, the school will receive a $4,000 travel stipend from the Orange County Academic Decathlon Association, which joined OCDE in announcing this year’s winners.

Westminster has burnished its reputation as an OCAD dynasty in recent years, taking first place in 2010, 2011, 2013 and now 2015. But as we said, it won’t be the only O.C. school advancing to the next round.

Woodbridge High in the Irvine Unified School District, Valencia High in the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District, Trabuco Hills High in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District and La Quinta High in the Garden Grove Unified School District also punched their tickets to the California Academic Decathlon in March after posting some of the highest team scores in the state.

Here’s a list of all of this year’s winning Orange County teams by division:

DIVISION 1

1st Place: Westminster High School, Huntington Beach Union High School District
2nd Place: Woodbridge High School, Irvine Unified School District
3rd Place: Valencia High School, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District
4th Place: Trabuco Hills High School, Saddleback Valley Unified School District
5th Place: La Quinta High School, Garden Grove Unified School District

DIVISION 2

1st Place: Servite High School, Private School, Anaheim
2nd Place: Sonora High School, Fullerton Joint Union High School District
3rd Place: Esperanza High School, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District
4th Place: San Juan Hills High School, Capistrano Union School District
5th Place: Fountain Valley High School, Huntington Beach Union High School District

DIVISION 3

1st Place: Canyon High School, Orange Unified School District
2nd Place: El Toro High School, Saddleback Valley Unified School District
3rd Place: Pacifica High School, Garden Grove Unified School District
4th Place: Sunny Hills High School, Fullerton Joint High School District
5th Place: San Clemente High School, Capistrano Unified School District

Organized at the county, state and local levels, Academic Decathlons are 10-event scholastic contests with rules that are pretty consistent. Nine-member teams battle for the highest scores on multiple-choice exams, speeches, interviews and essay assignments. Each squad must include three “Honor” students (those with GPAs of 3.75 or above), three “Scholastic” students (GPAs of 3.00 to 3.74) and three “Varsity” students (GPAs of 2.99 or below). Contests culminate with the fast-paced Super Quiz Relay, which is held in front of a live audience. (You can learn more on the OCDE’s Academic Decathlon 101 webpage.)

Kristin Rigby, an OCDE program specialist of academic events, said many students begin preparing for their Academic Decathlon roles in May or June of the previous year. The contests themselves may be intense, but the annual awards ceremony is all about celebration and camaraderie.

“There was definitely a buzz in the room,” Rigby said. “Especially when the kids get together and start winning medals, it’s joy and relief that all that hard work paid off. You can just see it in the kids’ faces.”