Granada Hills Charter wins national academic decathlon


Students from Granada Hills Charter won the U.S. Academic Decathlon on Saturday, the ninth time the San Fernando Valley school has captured the title.

Nine students — Zainab Al-Atya, Lily Fairbank-Bermejo, Vivian Le, Vanessa Miller, Kira Pospeshil, Matthew Salcedo, Colby Sapera, Garrett Scott and Mason Wong — represented Granada Hills Charter in the competition, in which high school teams take multiple-choice exams, write essays and give speeches on a range of subjects spanning science, literature, art, music, social science, economics and mathematics.

Each year the competition revolves around a central topic, this year’s being water, according to a spokesperson for Granada Hills Charter.


“I’m very excited, very proud of all my teammates. We worked really hard all year,” Fairbank-Bermejo said in a statement distributed by the school. “It’s great to see the success that comes from all the hard work that we put in come to fruition.”

Two Granada Hills Charter students, Anthony Mercado and Elyssa Nguyen, were alternates on the team, which was coached by Tyler Lee and Amy Contreras.

“Our whole team is thrilled to carry on Granada’s winning tradition,” Lee said in a statement. “They deserve it after working hard all year and demonstrating real determination and dedication.”

Granada Hills Charter is a back-to-back champion, having won the title last year. The decathlon was canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s competition was held virtually.