Granada Hills Charter High School “Three-Peats!” Wins California Academic Decathlon Again, and Again and Again

LOS ANGELES (March 27, 2017) -- The reigning national champions, Granada Hills Charter High School in the Los Angeles Unified School District, today won the 2017 California Academic Decathlon competition. The San Fernando Valley school also won the state and national decathlons for 2011-2013 and 2015. Next step, a chance next month to continue an unbelievable winning streak and three-peat the national championship.

At the state contest, held in Sacramento, the team scored 55,211 points out of a possible 60,000.

Students Mark Aguila, Jordan Barretto, Sabrina Carlos, Sebastian Gonzalez, Christopher Lo, Kevin Ly, Aishah Mahmud, Melissa Santos and Peter Shin make up the championship team. They are coached by Mathew Arnold, Harsimar Dhanoa, Jonathan Sturtevant and Rachael Phipps.

The nine‐member team will represent California at the 35th Annual United States Academic Decathlon Competition, scheduled April 17-23, in Madison, WI. If they prevail, California will claim its 15th national title.

A perennial powerhouse, Granada Hills Charter won their first L.A. Unified Academic Decathlon a decade ago. In fact, L.A. Unified has been well represented at every level of the completion, earning 23 state titles and 17 national championships since 1986.

"I am always amazed at the consistency of the talent, training and competitive spirit of the students and coaches at Granada Hills,” said Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson.  “Congratulations for another well-earned victory!"

Coming in second in the state competition, El Camino Real Charter High School will advance to the national online competition in the large school category, also held in April.

Coming in third and fourth was Franklin High School with 52,677 points and Marshall High School with 52,189 points.

“Proud is an understatement,” said Board Member Dr. Ref Rodriguez. “I am absolutely inspired and humbled by my students from Franklin and Marshall for competing two years in a row at the State Academic Decathlon. Congratulations to Granada Hills Charter for winning this year’s Academic Decathlon. Thank you to all of the students for your hard work, to the teachers who supported them on this incredible journey, and especially to the parents who supported them every step of the way.”

“Congratulations to all of our devoted decathletes and especially the Granada Hills Charter High School team and coaches,” said Michelle King, L.A. Unified Superintendent of Schools. “We are proud of your remarkable achievement and your competitive drive to succeed. Thank you for proudly representing the L.A. Unified family."     

“LAUSD championship streak continues,” said Cliff Ker, Academic Programs Coordinator. “Another spectacular performance from Granada Hills Charter decathlon team, I wish them the best in Nationals.”

In all, 581 students representing 67 high school teams from across the state competed in this year’s California Academic Decathlon. Teams are composed of three Honor students (3.75 and above GPA), three Scholastic students (3.00-3.74 GPA), and three Varsity students (2.99 GPA and below).

Decathletes compete in 10-quiz competitions involving speech, interviews, essay, art, economics, language and literature, mathematics, music, social science plus the Super Quiz. This year’s study topic was World War II.

The Academic Decathlon originated locally in Orange County, California, in 1968 under the direction of the late Dr. Robert Peterson, then Orange County Superintendent of Schools. The competition went statewide in 1979 and has been a national event since 1982. The LAUSD earned its first of many state and national trophies in 1986representated by Marshall High School.

RETURN TO L.A. INFORMATION:  All three teams, Granada, Franklin and Marshall High Schools are scheduled to return to Los Angeles via Bob Hope Airport (formerly Burbank Airport) aboard Southwest Airline Flight 5841 which is scheduled at 6:40 p.m. Sunday, March 26.


Contact: Monica Carazo (213) 247-4087