Siblings lead CdM in Academic Decathlon

A brother-sister team at Corona del Mar High School led the school to a divisional victory in this year's Orange County Academic Decathlon.

At the awards ceremony in Costa Mesa Tuesday night, Kevin and Jenny Conde found out they'd helped their team claim the No. 1 spot in division three of the countywide scholastic battle.

"We were all just really excited," Jenny said.

Teams of nine from private and public high schools competed in the marathon of math, economics, language and literature, science, music, art, social science, speaking, interviewing and essay writing.

CdM's team won 59 individual medals in the 10 categories.

Eight of those medals went to Kevin, who took first-place division-three honors in science, history, art, music and literature.

Combined with a fifth-place medal and second-place divisional medals for his performance in economics and his written essay, he came away with the 10th highest score of all divisions, his sister bragged.

"I'd say I was pretty surprised that I got that many high medals," Kevin said.

The junior competed in the decathlon's main event for the first time. It just happened to be the same year his freshman sister joined the team.

Underwhelming past performances had dropped CdM to a division-three rank, with perennial giants like this year's winner Westminster High School filling out the higher sections.

Irvine's Woodbridge High School competed with Westminster in division one and ended up taking fourth place. In division two, Fountain Valley High School took second place.

"This year verses prior years, we really committed to doing well from the beginning," Kevin said of CdM's team.

Starting in May and working through the summer, the team pored over reams of material and appointed specialists to teach subjects to the rest of the team.

Jenny's specialty was science, and for this year's event — which was themed around Russia — she filled the team in on topics like the space race.

"We worked more collaboratively than before," Kevin said.

The siblings don't anticipate being in the lowest division for long after this win.

"I'm definitely looking forward to next year," Jenny said.

Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck

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