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CdM Middle School team wins pentathlon

One of Corona del Mar Middle School’s seventh-grade academic pentathlon teams has taken first place in a countywide competition.

In all, the school’s seventh-and eighth-grade teams snagged more than 80 awards at the Orange County Department of Education’s Academic Pentathlon last month and were recognized Tuesday night by the Newport-Mesa school board.

“You represented not only yourself, but your families and your school, in a positive way,” Asst. Principal Tim Tolzda said. “We’re very proud of you. Keep up the good work.”

Seventh-grader Arbaaz Patel, 13, took third place in science, fifth in math and sixth in history.


Winning was exciting, he said, adding that, “It was nothing you can imagine.”

The students competed in teams of nine comprised of a mix of students with all grade levels. They were challenged in five subjects.

They took timed multiple choice tests in math, history, science and literature and had 30 minutes to write an essay during the competition.

The middle school students studied medieval Japan, evolution, the Earth’s history and the novel “The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn” by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler at lunch and after school for five months to prepare for the competition.


“It’s really fun for the kids to have a chance to look at the material in a little more depth,” said Darla Conde, a parent and coach.

The Corona del Mar program is unique in that it is entirely voluntary for the kids, said coach Carol Boice, who has been involved with the program for 18 years.

The competition was a chance for the students to test their independence, gain self-confidence, and see that hard work pays off, Conde said.

“It was a really good feeling to know that you accomplished something,” said seventh-grader Rayna Schonwit.