Granada Hills Charter High wins L.A. Academic Decathlon

Defending national champion Granada Hills Charter High School won this year’s academic decathlon in the Los Angeles Unified School District, officials announced Friday night.

Granada Hills will continue to the state competition, but it won’t be alone. Other district high schools competing will be Marshall, which finished second in L.A. Unified; Franklin, which finished third; El Camino Real; Garfield; Bell; Van Nuys; Grant; Narbonne; Hamilton; North Hollywood; and, for the first time, Cleveland and Lincoln.

Granada Hills has six district titles. The top district teams are always favorites in the state and national competitions. Over the last 20 years, schools from L.A. Unified have won 20 state contests and 16 national titles. Granada Hills has four national crowns.


Academic decathlon: In the Feb. 14 California section, an article about Granada Hills Charter High School's victory in the L.A. Unified academic decathlon said that LAUSD schools had won 20 state and 16 national titles in the last 20 years. They have won those titles in the last 30 years.

"We are so proud of each and every one of you for your sacrifice, diligence and hard work,"  L.A. schools Supt. Michelle King said in a statement. "L.A. Unified has a long and storied history of success. For the teams heading to the state decathlon, undeniably, they will represent the best of the best.”

Each participating school fields a team of nine students.

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The group has to represent a range of grade-point averages. Three students, in the “honor” category, have a grade-point average of 3.75 or above. (A 4.0 is an “A.”) Three other students (the “scholastic” category) have a GPA ranging from 3.0 to 3.74. And the last three (“varsity”) have GPAs of 2.99 or below.

The most successful teams benefit from both high achievers and students who were under-achieving before taking on the rigorous decathlon challenge.

The competition put students through paces in 10 areas: speech, interviews (prepared and impromptu), essay, art, economics, language and literature, mathematics, music, social science and “super quiz.” Only the super quiz takes place in public.

In that part of the competition, Granada Hills delivered a perfect score of 5,400 points. Marshall placed second with 5,175 points.

The study topic this year was India.

The members of the Granada Hills team are Melissa Santos, Aishah Mahmud, Joshua Lin, Mark Aguila, Jorge Zepeda, Isha Gupta, Julian Duran, Christopher Lo and Mayeena Ulkarim. The coach is Mathew Arnold.

Lin took the top prize in the honor division. Abeer Hossain from Marshall High School was the highest scorer in the scholastic division. Alex Munoz from Franklin High School was the highest scorer in the varsity division. 

The winners were announced at an awards ceremony at Hollywood High.

Twitter: @howardblume 


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