“The dynamic in the classroom is really interesting since we’re all actually very different in personalities, yet we all get along really well and are on the same level.”
– Mia Ramos
Academic Decathlon is a class that gives students a way to build their experiences and research skills outside the conventional classroom environment. This class is dedicated to giving the students on the team studying time for their topic, which they have all year to master. Throughout the school year, teams from different schools compete on who knows more about the subject. The highest scoring teams are given the opportunity to go to nationals at the end of the year, and the best individuals can go to the international competition.
“Academic Decathlon is a very casual class,” junior Bennett Tolar said. “We spend each class reading class material and devising ways to teach each other on the yearly topic.”
Academic Decathlon primarily consists of research. The students must research literature, art, science, social science, economics, music and math pertaining to their topic, World War II. They also must prepare a speech, train for an impromptu speech and practice for an interview.
“The sheer amount of information is probably the greatest challenge,” junior Connor Proffitt said. “They give us a really large binder, and we are supposed to learn as much of the information in it as we can.”
Even though the course work can be challenging, the benefits of the class far outweigh the effort students need to put in.
“The biggest benefit of [Academic Decathlon] is that the class counts as a weighted fine art credit,” Tolar said. “Colleges like seeing the class, too, because it shows dedication. The best part for me is the laid-back atmosphere and working with similar people.”
With a very small class size of only 10 students this year, one of the best features of Academic Decathlon is its tight-knit community.
“There aren’t exactly a lot of us, so luckily a very open environment has developed between us, and we communicate very well,” junior Mia Ramos said. “The dynamic in the classroom is really interesting since we’re all actually very different in personalities, yet we all get along really well and are on the same level.”
With the four seniors on the team unable to return next year, new members are needed, and they should expect a new year of excitement.
“[Academic Decathlon] really isn’t as stressful as many make it seem,” Proffitt said. “It’s a great class, as long as you pay attention and study your topic, which you have tons of time to do.”
For more information on Academic Decathlon, talk to your advisor, Ms. Sokol or view the course description at http://www.mpsaz.org/rmhs/organizations/acdec/.
(Feature Photo By Bennett Tolar)