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Ariz. Academic Decathlon, ASU team up for excellence

November 03, 2010

ASU plans to host more than 300 high school students from around the state at a daylong Arizona Academic Decathlon clinic, Nov. 6, on the Tempe campus. ASU professors from history, music, English, art, economics and earth and space exploration will speak to students about this year’s topic, the Great Depression, through the lens of their disciplines.
Students attending the clinic are preparing to compete in the state academic decathlon March 11. The winning state team will go on to compete in the United States Academic Decathlon April 27 in Charlotte, N.C. A decathlon team is made up of three honor students (“A” grade level), three scholastic students (“B” level) and three varsity students (“C” level).  All students compete in 10 events – mathematics, science, art, music, economics, language & literature, interview, speech, essay and super quiz (social science) – with the Great Depression as the overarching topic this year.
The commitment of Arizona educators in the preparation and coaching of local high school students pays off. Arizona has had a decathlon team place in the top five at nationals 20 times. Last year, Arizona’s Mountain View High School placed fourth out of 39 teams.

The mission of the Arizona Academic Decathlon Association (AADA) is to promote, motivate and acknowledge excellence in academic efforts and educational achievement through a program of academic competitions for high school students of all scholastic achievement levels. The decathlon moves students beyond memorizing facts. The experience exposes them to college-level curricula and encourages them to make interdisciplinary connections and think deeply about topics.

“The student participants [of the clinic] are incredibly enthusiastic and ready to learn,” said Kent Wright, history professor at ASU.

The enthusiasm for learning gained by the Arizona Academic Decathlon experience follows many student participants to ASU as incoming freshmen, and ASU offers scholarships to regional finalists and top scorers of the competition.