Granada Hills wins third national Academic Decathlon competition

Granada Hills Charter High School senior Hamidah Mahmud of Granada Hills Charter is comforted by her mother, Jahanara, after her team won the state competition last month. The students proceeded to nationals, where they won their third consecutive title.
(Robert Durell / For The Times)
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Granada Hills Charter High School won its third consecutive national title in Academic Decathlon on Saturday, beating out about 50 other teams — including its closest competitor, another team from Los Angeles Unified.

The team of nine students scored 54,652 points out of a possible 66,000, in the rigorous 10-subject battle of wits in which students are tested in such subjects as math, science, literature and art, as well as give speeches and are interviewed by judges, district officials said.

Another L.A. Unified team — El Camino Real Charter High School, a six-time national winner looking to reclaim the top prize — came in second. The school, which also placed second to Granada Hills in the state competition in Sacramento last month, was able to participate at the national level after a rule change allowing more than one team from each state.


“In having the top two teams in the county, LAUSD this year exceeded our own amazingly high standards in the Academic Decathlon,” Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy said in a statement Saturday. He said Granada Hills’ success has proved “once again that when it comes to the Academic Decathlon, our district is way ahead of the competition.”

Granada Hills’ win marks the 14th national win for the district in the three-decade existence of the competition.

The winning team members are Jae Kyung Chong, Seung Woo Baek, Hamidah Mahmud, Kelly Ma, Kimberly Ly, Kailin Li, Dayoung Kim, Faria Ghouri and Beatrice Dimaunahan. The team is coached by Granada Hills teachers Matt Arnold, Nicholas Weber and Spencer Wolf.


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