Congratulations to Our Academic Decathlon Team!


The YLHS Academic Decathlon team posing with advisor, Ms. Stephenson, and their awards from the competition.

All year long our Orange County Academic Decathletes have been preparing for the competition of the year! Following this year’s theme, India, the team has been up early in the morning studying literature, history, art, and music of the Indian culture. Moreover, they have dedicated hours of their own time to read about and master economics, science, and mathematics. In addition to these subjects, the team were working all year to ready themselves to write an essay, explain their character through an interview, and give a short speech on any topic with meaning.


After two Saturdays which tested them on these skills, our decathletes came out victorious! Senior George Abdallah medalled 1st place in Science, Economics, and Speech, 2nd place in Social Science,  3rd place in Mathematics, 4th place in Language/Literature, and 5th place in Art. Senior William Behvandi medalled 2nd place in Art, and 5th place in both Economics and Social Science.  Senior Max Ferguson obtained a 1st place medal in Essay, 2nd place in Science, and 4th place in both Economics and Social Studies.  Senior Catherine Han medalled 1st place in Mathematics and Speech and 3rd place in Interview.  Senior David Hernaiz medalled 4th place in Interview, and 5th place in both Art and Music.  Junior Nikhil Patolia medalled 5th place in both Math and Social Science.  Junior Sumesh Rawal medalled 1st place and received a perfect score in Interview.  Sophomore William Russell medalled 1st place in Art and 4th place in both Essay and Music.  


Due to the amazing job our decathletes did, our school team as a whole placed in 3rd for the Overall Team score. Just last year, the team placed 5th for the Overall Team score, so this year was a great jump! After the testing, interviews, speeches, and writing, our academic decathletes also competed in the Super Quiz — a timed competition where teammates input answers through an electronic device and earn points to boost the overall team score during the quiz — where they placed in 2nd!
Reflecting upon their experience this year, the team only had good things to say. Catherine Han (12) shared how “the emphasis on cross-curricular education and application of both prior and taught knowledge” made Academic Decathlon a special and worthwhile experience. When asked about his favorite part of Academic Decathlon, William Russell (10) said, “One is the people here, it’s just the best experience walking in here in the morning for zero period and seeing all those friendly faces. And the other reason is because it looks great on a college application.” Even coach, Mrs. Stephenson, shared her pride for the students, adding that her favorite moment was “when [they] won the team placement this year in second place.” Looks like our Academic Decathlon team truly had one amazing year, congratulations to all the teammates!