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Academic decathletes ready for competition

The 38th Annual Madera County Academic Decathlon will be held Feb. 1, with the interview and essay competitions held prior to competition day.

Eight of the 10 Decathlon events, including the speech competition and Super Quiz, will be held Feb. 1, at Madera South High School.

This year’s topic is “In Sickness and In Health: A History of Illness and Wellness.”

The first day of this two-day high school event was held at the Madera County Superintendent of Schools Conference Center on Jan. 24.

Chawanakee Academy, Chowchilla High, Glacier High Charter, Liberty High, Madera High, Madera South High, and Yosemite High schools will compete to be named county champion.

The winner of Madera County’s Academic Decathlon will advance to the state competition in March. Schools are allowed up to 25 students per team and all are eligible for awards. The final overall team will be determined by selecting the top three scoring students from each division.

Teams are comprised of three divisions: Honor (“A” students), Scholastic (“B” students), and Varsity (“C” students).

Volunteers are needed to help score speeches from 8:30-11:15 a.m., Feb. 1, at Madera South High School. Students will deliver a 4-minute prepared speech and a 2-minute impromptu speech.

“We wouldn’t be able to create such a successful event without the engagement of our community volunteers,” said Dr. Cecilia Massetti, Madera County Superintendent of Schools. “It is a great way to get involved, especially as a judge, listening to insightful speeches and interviewing students who demonstrate the qualities needed for our future as the next community leaders.”

The interview and essay are held on a separate day to allow for the increased number of students and creates a shorter Saturday competition. The entire state of California will be competing on the first Saturday in February.

Students will complete their essays using a laptop computer for the seventh year. Essays are then scored by trained readers after the competition.

Students will receive awards based on their division: Honor, Scholastic and Varsity. Each division will be awarded gold, silver and bronze medals for each subject. The highest scoring student in each subject will receive $100, as well as the top scoring senior on each team. Scholarships are made possible because of local donors. Educational Employees Credit Union is a Diamond Sponsor of this year’s student events and Camarena Health is a Platinum Sponsor.

The 2020 Super Quiz will be a collaborative effort. Students in each round will be allowed to discuss the question for 10 seconds and then answer the questions independently.

“The Super Quiz is a perfect opportunity to showcase the students’ skills and knowledge of the subjects in front of an audience,” said Massetti.

“Parents, school administration, and the community are given a glimpse of how much work goes into competing and the topics the students have studied.”

The public is invited to attend the Super Quiz and Awards Ceremony on Feb. 1, beginning at 3 p.m. at Madera South High School. The awards ceremony begins at 4:30.

For information or to volunteer, call Kristi Winter, coordinator, student svents, at 662-3873 or email


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