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Academic decathlon to put local students to the test
Academic Decathlon
As the highest performing small school for the fifth year in a row, Denair High School students took home an impressive 38 medals from the Stanislaus County Academic Decathlon last year. The high school is one of 13 local schools expected to participate in the 36th annual competition this weekend. - photo by Photo Contributed

Known as the “biggest academic event for local schools,” the 36th annual Stanislaus County Academic Decathlon will kick off this weekend with a two-day series of tests, speeches and interviews featuring this year’s theme, “India.”

Co-sponsored by the Stanislaus County Office of Education, Gallo Foundation and Mocse Credit Union, the decathlon promotes interschool competition in academics and is supported through contributions made by businesses and the community.

“The competition is open to all students, not just the top-achievers,” said SCOE Student Events Coordinator Cheryl Goulart, who said the goal of the decathlon is to stimulate intellectual growth and scholastic success. “Our objective is to recognize student achievement and to emphasize the positive dimensions of education.”

Despite its relatively smaller size, Denair High School definitely left an impression last year as it triumphed over larger competitors at the 35th Annual Stanislaus County Academic Decathlon.

The school was awarded third place out of 12 competing schools at the culmination of the competition, marking the fifth year DHS was named the highest performing small school.

DHS students Jennifer Calderon, Lewis Koehn, and Noah Johnson all took home gold medals individually.

In the Honors category, encompassing students who hold a 3.75 through 4.00 Grade Point Average, Calderon was awarded gold in the interview portion, as well as a fourth in art and a fifth in language and literature.

Also in the honors category, Koehn won gold in math, as well as a fifth in interview and a fifth in economics.

Johnson, who was placed in the scholastic category that includes students who maintain a 3.00 through 3.74 GPA, was awarded gold in language and literature, as well as silver in economics, bronze in art, bronze in music, bronze in social science, and fourth in science.

Altogether, the 16 students representing DHS brought home an impressive 38 medals—a success story that the school hopes to repeat again this year as one of the 13 local high schools competing. Other schools include Beyer, Central Catholic, Ceres, Davis, Enochs, Gregori, Hughson, Johansen, Modesto, Oakdale, Patterson and Valley Charter.

Participating schools send a total of nine members to serve as the core team—three students in each of three categories, based on grade point averages. Schools may send as many alternate participants as they choose. Categories include Honors, 3.75-4.00 GPA; Scholastic, 3.00-3.74 GPA; and Varsity, 0.00-2.99 GPA.

The public is invited to attend the culminating event, the “Super Quiz and Awards Presentation” from 1:20 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday in the Davis High School Gymnasium, 1200 W. Rumble Rd. in Modesto. There is no charge for admission.

This year’s winner will represent Stanislaus County at the California Academic Decathlon State Finals, March 17 to March 20 in Sacramento.