By Megan Smith | Assistant News Editor
On Feb. 19, the Academic Decathlon team headed to San Antonio for the state AcDec competition. They placed fourth in the regional division at Garland High School competition on Jan. 25, allowing them to move on to the state competition.
The team consists of nine students from different grades: three with “A” averages, three with “B” averages and three with “C” averages. The Pearce team has placed in the top 10 of the regional divisions for the last 23 years.
The team is coached by AP US History teacher Jarred Stewart.
“Honestly, the fact that Mr. Stewart was the coach is what ultimately made me join AcDec,” senior Kenan Redzic said. “I had him for APUSH and thought he was a great teacher, so I joined.”
While some students sign up for the class because Mr. Stewart is the coach, others do it for a variety of other reasons.
“While Mr. Stewart being the coach definitely got me interested in joining AcDec, one main reason I wanted to join was so that I could meet kids I wouldn’t normally be able to get to know well,” junior Alex Wimer said. “It’s such a diverse group, I knew it was a good opportunity to learn and make new friends.”
The competition has seven regular tests, covering math, music and literature. All the tests are related to a specific theme for the year, and this year’s competition is based on World War I.
In addition to competing in these topics, each student has to write an essay, perform an interview with three judges and give an improvised speech.
The team won three medals in math, one medal in science, one medal in language, one medal in social studies, three medals in the interview and two medals in the speech in the regional competition, which put the team in fourth place. At the state competition, Ben Wasserman and Anna Rigodanzo tied for first in the interview portion of the contest. Ben also placed third for math. As a team, Pearce placed 14th in state and will not be moving to nationals.
“Mr. Stewart wanted us to place in the top 10 teams in the state competition,” Alex said. “He honestly believed in us as an eligible team for the national competition.”
Despite the fact that Mr. Stewart thought this year’s AcDec team had the potential to go to nationals, several members of the team agree with Alex that it was very unlikely that they’d move on in the competition.
“I don’t think we had the dedication to go to nationals this year,” Alex said. “A lot of the team was just excited that we were able to make it San Antonio for state.”
This year, the National Academic Decathlon competition will be held on April 24 and 25 in Honolulu, Hawaii.