YLHS Academic Decathlon


Mr. Buchan

This year’s OCAD team is already tearing up competitions.

Isaiah Seo, Photojournalist

The Yorba Linda High School Academic Decathlon team started off the year strong in their first scrimmage on November 19.

Academic Decathlon is a rigorous program in which students study and practice for ten different subjects/categories, hence the name decathlon (deca being a root that means ten).  Each year, the national Academic Decathlon organization picks a specific time period, era, country, etc. for that year’s tests to be based on.  This school year, the chosen era is World War II.  Students must study for all ten categories that will be part of the test, which include math, science, art, literature, economics, art, music, essay, speech, and interview.  Each school has their own team, and each team is divided up into smaller groups by GPA.  In competitions, each GPA group contributes to the overall team score.

At YLHS, Mr. Buchan is the coach for the team which consists of 17 students ranging from 9th to 12th grade.  When asked about what he likes best about coaching Academic Decathlon, he said, “I love to compete and I love to teach.  OCAD gives me an opportunity to do both.  Seeing kids get excited about the material and working together as a team is really important to me.  It’s also a really cool way for kids of different academic levels to interact.  It’s my first year [coaching], I have a really cool class, and I think we’ll reap some benefits of our hard work this year.”  The students are some of the best and brightest at Yorba Linda High School and they are fully capable of representing their school  The team has been studying throughout the year by category, so they did literature for three weeks, then math for three weeks, etc.  The head coach is Mr. Buchan, but other teachers and staff, such as Mrs. Jauch and Mr. Peacock, have helped teach as well.

On November 19, the Orange County Department of Education hosted an Academic Decathlon scrimmage.  29 different schools throughout Orange County were represented at the competition.  At the competition, every student took multiple choice tests for all of the categories except for essay, speech, and interview.  After three and a half hours of written testing, there was a mock Superquiz.  The Superquiz is a high energy, game show-type contest in which a multiple choice question is projected onto a large screen and students have a limited amount of time to send in their answers via small hand-held responders.  Out of the 29 schools represented at the scrimmage, YLHS placed 9th, which was a huge jump from 26th out of 27 last year.

The Yorba Linda Academic Decathlon team is studying hard and they are looking forward to more competitions to come.