Decade of Decathlon Discontinued
by Matt Solomon, Staff Writer
Some West G. students may have noticed that this year there were no morning announcements with the Academic Decathlon team proudly displaying its medals, no posters wishing them good luck at National Championships, and no triumphant returns from competitions. These sights have been common in years past as the exceptional Academic Decathlon team went from one competition to another, raking in medals, awards, and honor. Unfortunately this year, though, the club, which has successfully competed for more than ten consecutive years, did not meet.
Academic Decathlon was a club where a team is formed of nine students: three students with an “A” average, three with a “B,” and three with a “C.” These nine students must study in multiple subjects to compete at a state championship competition, and, if all goes well, can then compete at a national championship. The competitions consist of ten standardized tests, an interview with judges, and a speech. For weeks preceding a competition, the team would study non-stop, often meeting outside of school to prepare. For the past three years the academic decathlon team has placed first in the state’s small school division and, with the exception of last year, has been eligible to compete at the national championships. Last year the small school division was cancelled on the national level, but it has been reinstated this year.
This year, however, there is no Academic Decathlon. This is largely due to
the fact that there is no teacher to lead it. In the past, Mrs. Houser
has been the advisor, with Mr. Speros helping. Since
Mrs. Houser went on sick leave, there has been no one to lead it. Mr. Speros
was unable to be the advisor due to many other commitments. There was some talk
of other teachers taking over, but no one signed up. There was also a possibility
of a West G graduate, James Buck, becoming the advisor, but
this plan did not materialize until it was too late in the season to be practical.
As a result of a lack of sponsorship, Academic Decathlon is not taking place.
This has left many qualified competitors without an outlet for their intelligence.
Senior Jon Hanover said, “It’s a shame because
we might’ve had a shot to make it to the national level.” Despite
the lack of a team this year, next year’s prospects may be more hopeful.
“It would be premature for me to say who the advisor will be, but I am
very confident that we will have an Academic Decathlon team in the 2004-2005
school year” said Principal Mr. Joe Mueller.