Lemoore Middle College High School once again prevailed over the competition Saturday as the 35th Kings County Academic Decathlon culminated with the school winning the title for the fifth year in a row.
“I think [the Academic Decathlon] is made for us,” said LMCHS Academic Decathlon coach Allen Tong. “I think it fits the culture of our school.”
LMCHS was announced the winning Decathlon team with 41,904.30 points, followed by Lemoore High School with 33,034.90 points. The school will now advance to the State Academic Decathlon competition held in March in Sacramento.
A total of 73 students on teams from Avenal High School, Corcoran High School, Hanford High School, Hanford West High School, Lemoore High School, LMCHS and Sierra Pacific High School competed in a rigorous set of academic examinations demonstrating their versatility in a variety of academic categories. This year’s event theme was “World War II.”
Contestants went through a variety of academic tests, performed prepared and impromptu speeches, wrote essays and participated in interview competitions in Academic Decathlon, with the final competition being the Super Quiz. Each team was compiled of varsity, scholastic and honor students, designations that are based on the students’ grade-point average. Honor students have the highest GPA followed by scholastic and varsity students.
At the event awards ceremony, individual medals and scholarships were won by students from each participating high school. More than $5,000 in scholarships was awarded to top placing Kings County students.
LMCHS senior Macy Gage, 17, was the Super Quiz winner and was also named Top Decathlete and received a $1,000 scholarship. She also received scholarships for Top Honors Student, Top LMCHS Student, Language and Literature, Art, Social Science and Speech categories.
Other LMCHS student scholarships went to William Young for Top Varsity Student, Sidney Sever for Top Scholastic Student, Braden Jones for Art, Christopher Acevedo for Speech and Alexis Ricks for Speech.
LMCHS Principal Charles Gent said the whole school is very proud of its Academic Decathlon team. Gent said Tong deserves a lot of the credit for the team’s success due to his dedication to the students and the Academic Decathlon program, and said their hard work had paid off
“Mr. Tong provides the leadership for the team, keeps the students focused and provides the motivation for the students to achieve to their highest ability,” Gent said.
Gent said the team only had two returning members on the team, Jones and Sever. He said all of the new members, Acevedo, Gage, Ricks, Young, Ali Macias, Alex Panzera and David Vigle made the commitment to their team and competed at a high level.
“It is good to see all of the students excel at the county competition after watching them work so hard to achieve their goals,” Gent said.
Gage said being on the team is really special and something she had never experienced before. She said the team members built strong relationships with each other through working and studying hard together.
Gage said she was a bit surprised when she won the Top Decathlete award because the test was difficult, but she gained confidence as time went on. She said the team is now looking forward to the state competition.
“We’re really going to push ourselves, I think, harder than we’ve pushed before,” Gage said.
Tong said because academics are the focus of the LMCHS campus he is not surprised that the students did well, but he is still pleased and happy for them. He said the students reflect what the school is about and what is expected of them.
Tong said the students are good, hard workers who have diligently studied since the materials were provided to them in July. He said the team met for class three times a week, plus after-school sessions for the final team.
“It’s about six months of hard work for two days of competition,” Tong said chuckling, adding the students are committed to the team and to each other.
Tong said he and the team members are excited about the state competition. He said they will prepare by focusing on the subjects the team scored lower in to try to improve their scores. He said he believes the team has a chance to do well at the state event because the students are focused and serious about the competition.
“It makes it worthwhile when they’re all together for one purpose — to be the best that they can be,” Tong said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun.”
“Our students will do a great job representing LMCHS and Kings County,” Gent said. “This is a great group of kids, and all we want them to do is give their best effort.”