Canoga Park Senior High

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Academic Decathlon » Home


My experience with Academic Decathlon was "WOW".
Intense studying, lots of comedy, and great times...
Kevin Minsal 2007

What is Academic Decathlon?
Academic Decathlon is a national competition that demands students to master seven academic subjects (math, literature, music art, science, economics, and history), as well as deliver prepared and improvised speeches, undergo an interview, and write an essay connected to their studies. Their curriculum changes each year, and is centered on a theme. All of the academic areas, except math are related to the thematic focus.

But Academic Decathlon is more than just an intellectual exercise. Decathlon teaches perseverance, teamwork, and the value of hard work.
Who can participate?
The team is made up of three "A" students, three "B" students, and three "C" students, as determined by G.P.A.
Anyone in grades 9-12 can tryout; however, students in grades 11 and 12 are preferred. The best decathletes have a combination of brains, determination, and personality.
Why bother?
Academic Decathlon is the single best way to prepare for college. It forces students to study several subjects in depth and in detail, and will expand reading, writing, math, and public speaking skills. Colleges understand the determination decathlon requires. When Academic Decathlon appears on the transcript, colleges view that student in a new light.

Canoga Park’s team is on the rise. LAUSD’s competition is the most competitive in the nation, and has a history of winning national championships. In the 2005 competition, Canoga Park students finished 26th in the District. In 2006, they improved their position to 17th. But in 2007, the Canoga Decathletes came in 9th place! That’s 9 out of 62 schools in the entire LAUSD!
It is an honor to be selected for the Academic Decathlon team. Decathletes represent a high level of intellectual dedication and competitiveness. The demands are great, but rewards are greater.
What can I expect if I try out?
Decathletes spend an average of 20 hours per week studying. This time includes after school, attendance at Saturday practices, and extensive time during the holidays. The time commitment is a big part of being successful in this competition. Decathlon will take over your life. You will learn more on the seven academic subjects than you have ever known. As the team comes together, we do have fun. You will learn a lot about your teammates (the good and the bad), and you will learn to work as a team.

Who is already involved?
Mr. Horton coaches Canoga Park's team, with the assistance of several others. Debbie Braham coaches speech and interview, and Stephen McGee coaches Science. Guest speakers, including college professors and other experts, also teach decathletes.

Where do I find out more and/or sign up?
See Mr. Horton in room 626, or see your counselor.