Granada Hills Charter High Wins Sixth U.S. Academic Decathlon

LOS ANGELES (April 22, 2017) - The defending U.S. Academic Decathlon champion captured its third consecutive victory – and its sixth national title – when it was named today as winner of the 2017 U.S. Academic Decathlon.

“These students have made history,” said School Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson, whose district includes Granada Hills. “Congratulations to each of them for another stellar performance and for brilliantly representing L.A. Unified.”

Superintendent Michelle King added her praise for the nine-member team and its dedicated coaches.

“The entire L.A. Unified family is extremely proud of your victory and stalwart commitment to teamwork,” she said. “You are all fine examples of champions.” 

The winning Highlanders team is made up of Mark Aguila, Jordan Barretto, Sabrina Carlos, Sebastian Gonzalez, Christopher Lo, Kevin Ly, Aishah Mahmud, Melissa Santos and Peter Shin. They are coached by Mathew Arnold, Harsimar Dhanoa, Jonathan Sturtevant and Rachael Phipps.

The champs scored 54,507.7 out of a possible 66,000 points, defeating more than 500 other teams representing high schools from across the U.S., Canada, China and the United Kingdom.  

The Academic Decathlon is a rigorous test in which teams compete in 10 categories: art, economics, essay, interview, language and literature, mathematics, music, science, social science and speech. This year’s study subject was World War II.

On its way to the national competition in Madison, WI, Granada Hills captured the Academic Decathlon contests for L.A. Unified and California.

“I am very proud of Granada Hills’ hard-working and brilliant decathletes and coaches,” said Cliff Ker, the District’s Academic Decathlon coordinator.

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) 247-4087