Reigning Champs Keep Their Crown; Granada Hills Charter High School Wins 5th U.S. Academic Decathlon Title

LOS ANGELES (April 30, 2016) — With a thunderous roar, the nine- member team from Granada Hills Charter High School, in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), were again crowned  the 2016 Champions of the U.S. Academic Decathlon with a score of 54,195.1 points out of 60,000.

The Highlanders claimed their fifth national championship in six years.  Members of the championship team are: Aishah Mahmud, Joshua Lin, Melissa Santos, (Honor); Isha Gupta, Jorge Zepeda, Mark Aguila, (Scholastic); Mayeena Ulkarim, Christopher Lo, Julian Duran (Varsity).The coaches are: Matt Arnold, Jon Sturtevant, and Rachael Phipps.

More than 450 students from the United States, Canada, China and the United Kingdom gathered at the Hilton in Anchorage on April 28-30 to compete in the 35th annual United States Academic Decathlon National Competition. 

The San Fernando Valley school has dominated the state and national competition recently, winning four of the last five national titles-from 2011-2013, and again in 2015.

“I am amazed and in awe of the decathletes talent, competitive spirit, and enduring drive to succeed and win,” said Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson. “Congratulations to each of them for their magnificent victory and for representing L.A. Unified.”

“Congratulations to the decathlon team for a stellar performance throughout the Academic Decathlon season,” said Michelle King, Superintendent of Schools. “The entire L.A. Unified family is extremely proud of your unwavering determination, pride and selflessness. You are all champions.”

During Friday’s Super Quiz competition, Granada Hills Charter won first place in the Super Quiz event.

“I am so proud of all the Decathletes and Coaches from L.A. Unified,” said Cliff Ker, LAUSD Coordinator for Academic events.  “Their hard work has brought them to the pinnacle of success in the Academic Decathlon.”

Earlier this year Granada Hills Charter won the LAUSD Academic Decathlon and last month, California’s Academic Decathlon.  With this win, the L.A. Unified continues its ACADECA dominance with 17 national titles.

The academic decathlon is a team competition, in which students battle other teams, using their intellectual skills. The students competed in ten categories: art, economics, essay, interview, language and literature, mathematics, music, science, social science and speech. This year’s study subject was India.

United States Academic Decathlon® is an academic competition for high school students founded by Dr. Robert Peterson, former Superintendent of Schools in Orange County, in 1981. Dr. Peterson firmly believed that everyone’s learning potential can be encouraged through competitive challenge. The national competition is hosted in a different state every year to allow students a once in a lifetime experience and to motivate them to succeeded academically. Academic Decathlon® has come to be recognized as the most prestigious high school academic team competition in the United States. 


 Contact: Monica Carazo (213) 241-6766