Audrey Park, cub writer
As the night falls, the halls of Beverly grow silent except for one classroom. Room S-104 is filled with the sounds of voices, papers shuffling, and the smell of macaroni and cheese. The Academic Decathlon team is busily preparing for the state competition taking place on March 15.
Academic Decathlon is a competition in which a team of nine students study 10 subjects based on a specific theme. The theme this year is Russia and the subjects include math, science, literature, history, art, music, economics, speech, interview, and essay writing.
“AcaDeca is sort of like a track meet, but with thinking instead of running,” senior Hal Smith said. “There are 10 subjects, sort of like having 10 events at a track meet. “
Being so close to the top, currently ranked fifth in the country, the team is hopeful of reaching nationals.
“We are motivated because I think we know that if we study we can go far, and we hope to do our best,” team captain senior Jenny Chieu said. “This year Acadeca has gone the farthest. We shattered all the county scores and we have a brilliant team with much potential.”
AcaDeca students work around the clock
As part of their preparation for state, the team holds study sessions everyday of the week. On the weekdays, they study in coach Emily Smith’s room on some of the nights and coach Dina Yoseph’s room the other nights from sixth period until eight at night. On weekends, they either go to a member’s house or meet at school again from eight till five.
“We split the time between studying for subjectives and objectives,” Chieu said. “Usually we do one subject per week, interspersing it with math, speech, interview and essay practice.”
Although it may seem like the team members spend the majority of their time preparing for AcaDeca, they don’t neglect their other classes. The members believe that being a part of Academic Decathlon has actually improved their study habits.
“I was a D student before AcaDeca and now I’m a B student,” senior Heidi Hart said.
Smith also believes that AcaDeca has taught him many valuable lessons.
“It taught me [about] musical notation, giving speeches and writing essays,” Smith said.
Although it may seem like a lot of work to handle, the team members don’t mind the challenge. Chieu, who’s been on the team for two years, describes her time with AcaDeca as her favorite high school years. Smith also enjoys spending his time with AcaDeca.
“I’ve always liked doing competitions of knowledge,” Smith said. “I come to school because I want to learn.”
The fact that the teammates are all friends makes the study sessions an enjoyable time for them all. Smith enjoys coming to the sessions because he enjoys spending time with intelligent people. Hart believes the sessions are fun because she gets to bond with her teammates.
Although the state competition is less than a month away, the team isn’t stressed out at all.
“I usually know not to feel overwhelmed, because there is a lot of time between competitions to learn,” Chieu said. “Just like our coach said, if you ‘make every day your masterpiece you won’t feel overwhelmed.’ Another saying of his is ‘don’t waste time or time will waste you.’”
Chieu believes that as long as the hours don’t affect one’s health negatively, there is no such thing as studying too much. And so, AcaDeca forges ahead with their studying, and they are having fun while doing it.
Academic Decathlon welcomes and encourages students of all grade levels to join. The coaches can be contacted through the school’s website.