Alaska high school students prepare for competition of scholars
ANCHORAGE - Hundreds of students from across Alaska are gathering in Anchorage to represent their schools at the 28th annual GCI Academic Decathlon Competition, Feb. 22 – 25 at the Hilton Anchorage Hotel.
There will be participants from the Bering Strait School District (Golovin, Shishmaref, Stebbins, Unalakleet), Craig High School, Delta High School, Hutchison High School (Fairbanks), IDEA Correspondence School, Juneau-Douglas High School, Ketchikan High School, Lathrop High School (Fairbanks), the Lower Yukon School District (Emmonak, Hooper Bay, Marshall, Scammon Bay), Metlakatla High School, Monroe Catholic School (Fairbanks), North Pole High School, Susitna Valley High School, West Valley High School (Fairbanks) and Valdez High School in the decathlon.
The Academic Decathlon is the premiere national scholastic competition for high school students and was created to provide opportunities for students to experience the challenges of rigorous team and individual academic competition. Each student competes in 10 events: economics, essay, art, interview, language and literature, math, music, science/social science and speech. The science topic is also the super quiz. While students take one written test in the other six subjects, they take two in the super quiz: one written and one as a team. The team relay portion of the super quiz is the only event that is open to the public and is the most exciting event of the Academic Decathlon competition.
The 10-event academic program strives to foster a greater respect for knowledge, to promote wholesome inter-school academic competition and to further develop student communication skills. A unique aspect of the Academic Decathlon is that it is designed to include students from all academic abilities and achievement levels. Each nine-member team consists of three “A” students (honor division), three “B” students (scholastic division), and three “C” or below students (varsity division). Each team member competes in all 10 events against other students in their individual divisions. Team scores are calculated using the top two individual scores from each division to arrive at an overall team score.
Gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded for individual events and total scores. Overall individual winners are recognized, as are the champion teams. Teams advance through local, regional and state levels of competition and the state champions compete at the national finals April 25–28 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
A new theme of study is established every year. This year’s theme is “the age of empire.” Students will compose an essay based on a prompt whose central theme incorporates information relating to the current curriculum. Students will also perform a prepared speech and impromptu speech and participate in an interview before a panel of volunteer judges from the community. The Academic Decathlon emphasizes the personal and academic growth of each student who, by meeting the challenges with honesty and integrity, can reap the rewards of greater self-knowledge and self-confidence for the future.
The GCI Alaska Academic Decathlon’s presenting sponsors are GCI (www.gci.com) and School Access (http://www.schoolaccess.net).