LOS ANGELES — Granada Hills Charter High School, winner of this year’s Los Angeles Unified School District’s Academic Decathlon, trampled the competition. They scored the highest total – 59,167.1 out of a possible 65,400 points – in the history of the contest, higher than the previous teams that won three national decathlons in a row.

The top teams were announced today at L.A. Unified’s 2015 Academic Decathlon awards ceremony, held at Hollywood High School. Hundreds of decathletes, representing 59 high school teams across the District, celebrated their achievements in the auditorium with family members, friends, teachers, principals, school staff and other supporters. Top-scoring students also were honored with individual medals and trophies for academic achievement.

“I want to congratulate the students and coaches from Granada Hills Charter, and from all of the LAUSD teams, for their great work and remarkable accomplishments,” said school board member Tamar Galatzan, whose district includes the two top-scoring schools. “The decathlon is such a challenging experience, yet our kids continue to amaze us. It is an honor to represent such an inspiring group of students.”

This year’s Academic Decathlon, featuring a 10-quiz competition, involved speech, interviews (prepared and impromptu), essay, art, economics, language and literature, mathematics, music, social science and the “Super Quiz”, a written and oral relay. The scores were tallied together to declare the winner of this year’s Academic Decathlon. The study topic was “Alternatives in Energy.”

Superintendent Ray Cortines also cheered for Granada’s storied success. “I applaud each team member and the coaches for their extraordinary stamina, hard work and perseverance. I also extend congratulations to the other teams heading to Sacramento as they strive to keep the national championship in the LAUSD.”

The current national Academic Decathlon champions, El Camino Real Charter High School scored a close second with 58,223.0 points. Still looking for a good fight, last year’s winner, Marshall High School came in third place with 56,458.6 points. Franklin High School nabbed fourth place honors with 55,166.5 points and Garfield High School finished fifth with 50,790.6 points.

Rounding out the top 10 were: Bell, sixth-place, with 49,744.8 points; Hamilton High School, seventh-place, with 48,943.8 points; North Hollywood High School, eighth-place, with 46,232.2 points; Van Nuys High School, ninth-place, with 46,058.7 points; and Grant High School, 10th-place, with 45,459.3 points. In general, the top 10 teams move on. This year, Harbor Teacher Prep also made the cut, with 43,178.2 points.

These 11 teams will move ahead to the 2015 California Academic Decathlon competition, scheduled March 20-21, in Sacramento. Since 1987, L.A. Unified has won 20 state contests.

L.A. Unified has emerged over the years as an academic decathlon powerhouse, with its high school teams consistently winning local, state and national titles. Currently, the District boasts more national championships — 15 — than any other school district in the country.

“All along, I knew these kids were amazing,” said Cliff Ker, the academic competition’s legendary coordinator. “But they have surpassed my highest expectations. I am proud of them and their coaches for their dedication.”

In the academic decathlon competition, each school team is comprised of nine students — three students representing three different grade-point average categories — Varsity (2.99 GPA and below), Scholastic (3.00-3.74 GPA) and Honor (3.75 and above GPA).

Members of the Granada Hills team are: Peter Cho, Jenean Docter, Natalie Gonzalez, Jasmin Kim, Irene Lee, Tanthai Pongstien, Fernando Sanchez, Jorge Zepeda with Julia Howelman as the administrator and coaches Matt Arnold and Jon Sturtevant.

Irene Lee from Granada Hills Charter High School again took top prize in the Honor Division (grade-point average of 3.75 and above) with 9,461.4 points. Lee tied a record set in 2009 by a Moorpark student for the highest individual score. Tracy Levick, from El Camino Real Charter High School, was honored as the best scoring student in the Scholastic Division (GPA 3.00-3.74) with 8,970.8 points; and Tanthai Pongstien from Granada Hills Charter High School, was recognized as the highest scoring student in the Varsity Division (GPA 2.99 and below) with 8,979.9.

Franklin and Granada Hills Charter High Schools tied for first place as the victors of the Super Quiz competition. The highest score possible was 5,400 points. In all, 12 decathletes earned perfect scores in the Super Quiz relay, held earlier this month at the Roybal Learning Center.

Kim Monson from Narbonne High School won the Coach of the Year award.

Attached Files