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Academic Decathlon winner congrats in LA County go to Alhambra, again

The nine-member team from Alhambra’s Mark Keppel High School was declared the winner in the 2022-2023 Academic Decathlon competition in Los Angeles County’s region-wide unified school districts on Thursday, Feb. 3 at a banquet in Montebello.

Last year, powerhouse Mark Keppel High School bested more than 34 other high schools in the 2021-2022 competition. This year’s topic of study was “The American Revolution and the New Nation.” The theme last year, for all school teams in the U.S. was “Water: A Most Essential Resource.”

Teams competed this year in five events — an essay, an interview, a prepared speech, multiple choice knowledge tests and, finally, the Super Quiz in front of an audience.

The team from Keppel High School, led by coach Tin Tran, garnered 43,775 points, well ahead of second placer  West High School at 39,801.

 

Student Jason Brugarloas shows his scholarship check during the Los Angeles County Academic Decathlon Banquet at Quiet Cannon Conference & Event Center in Montebello, Calif. on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

Los Angeles County Board of Education vice president Yvonne Chan, left, presents Alhambra High School student Kennith San, right, with the second place award for overall decathlete during the Los Angeles County Academic Decathlon Banquet at Quiet Cannon Conference & Event Center in Montebello, Calif. on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

Award trophies for the top overall high schools are pictured during the Los Angeles County Academic Decathlon Banquet at Quiet Cannon Conference & Event Center in Montebello, Calif. on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

Alhambra High School student Try Lau yells while wearing a colonial outfit during the Los Angeles County Academic Decathlon Banquet at Quiet Cannon Conference & Event Center in Montebello, Calif. on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

West High School students and staff pose for a portrait after receiving the second place overall award during the Los Angeles County Academic Decathlon Banquet at Quiet Cannon Conference & Event Center in Montebello, Calif. on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

Mark Keppel High School student Karen Shi carries the trophy for top overall school during the Los Angeles County Academic Decathlon Banquet at Quiet Cannon Conference & Event Center in Montebello, Calif. on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. This is Mark Keppel’s fourth back to back award for top school. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

California Credit Union Vice President Gloria Rogers, left, presents Alhambra High School student Kevin San, right, with the third place award for overall decathlete during the Los Angeles County Academic Decathlon Banquet at Quiet Cannon Conference & Event Center in Montebello, Calif. on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

Award medals hang on a table during the Los Angeles County Academic Decathlon Banquet at Quiet Cannon Conference & Event Center in Montebello, Calif. on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr., Contributing Photographer)

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The winning team is made up of students Karen Shi, senior; Pammy Lin, sophomore; Yuliao Fan, freshmen; Ryan Lin, senior; Sandra Liang, sophomore; Ryan Chan, junior; Zechuan Zhou, senior; Jack Zhao senior; and Janet You, sophomore.

The rankings of the four next-best teams by score came from these schools:

West High School, Torrance USD, with 39,801 points.

Students: Keene Lei, freshmen; Alison Lin, senior; Joshua (HongDao) Zhang, junior; Amber Huang, senior; Yuhan Jia, junior; Qinghan Jia, sophomore; Kyle (Minwoo) Chung, sophomore; and Ariel Kim, senior. Their coach is Erika Hettinger.

Alhambra High School, with 38,884 points.

Students: Alex Wu, sophomore; Kevin San, sophomore; Kenneth San, sophomore; Tyr Lau, junior; Westley Song, sophomore; Lyla Medina, junior; and Dylan Nattboy, senior. Their coach is Jose Sanchez.

Redondo Union High School, in Redondo Beach, with 38,092 points.

Students: Theodore Danial, senior; Camilla Brennan, junior; Tal Levy, junior; Laxmi Upadhyaya, senior; Chiana Fujiwara, senior; Ava Ganny, junior; Logan Baker, junior; Madison Wilmes, senior; and Karen Malaty, senior. Their coach is Aimiee Gauvreau.

Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, in Rolling Hills Estates, with 37,773 points.

Students: Leia Spagnola, junior; Yuxiang Zhang, senior; Emily Zhu, junior; Emily Kallah, senior; Aarna Veera, sophomore; Brielle Young, senior; Artin Abedemanafi, sophomore; and Harry Zhao, senior. Their coach is Anne-Marie Voegtlin.

More than 450 students from 59 teams and from 37 participating high schools in Los Angeles County’s unified school districts — excluding Los Angeles Unified School District — participated this year.

The highest-scoring team, as well as any wild card teams, will advance to the state competition in March in Santa Clara, California.

The United States Academic Decathlon Nationals take place April 27-29 in Frisco, Texas.

The competition is open to students in grades 9-12. The nine members on each team are divided into three divisions based on their grade point average: Honors (3.8-4 or As), Scholastic (3.2-3.79 or Bs) and Varsity (3.199 and below or Cs). Students compete in individual and team competitions.

Participation by students in the Academic Decathlon is by choice. Students may have a regular class and after-school meetings. Teams have an adult head coach and usually an assistant coach.

The yearly theme is chosen by the United States Academic Decathlon overseers. The Academic Decathlon was founded in 1968 in Orange County. The competition went statewide in 1979 and in 1981 it went national. But the 2020 competition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the 2021-2022 competition last year, the next four high schools trailing Mark Keppel High were, in order, West High School (Torrance), Palos Verdes Peninsula High School (Rolling Hills Estates), Redondo Union High School (Redondo Beach) and San Gabriel High School (San Gabriel).

The L.A. County Academic Decathlon is open to public high schools countywide — but outside of the Los Angeles Unified School District, which holds its own academic decathlon competition and awards ceremony.

Information about the Academic Decathlon for Los Angeles County unified school district high schools can be found at www.lacoe.edu/Academic-Events/Academic-Decathlon

General information on how the Academic Decathlon works: www.usad.org/The-Experience/How-the-Events-Work.aspx and what students learn from this year’s participation: www.usad.org/The-Experience/Online-Events.aspx

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