AcaDeca team competes in Regionals, adapts to online platform


Image courtesy of Aghigh Banitaba.


Defne Onal staff writer
The Academic Decathlon (AcaDeca) Regional competition is taking place over the dates of Jan. 23 to Feb. 6 with Zoom links provided by Los Angeles County. AcaDeca competitions are a combination of subjective and objective skills, a way for students to showcase what they have learned all year since May. 
 Members have studied economics, literature, social studies, math, science and a whole host of different subjects centered around the Cold War, this year’s focus era. Starting from Jan. 23, students are demonstrating their skills “through prepared speeches, impromptu speeches, interviews, and objective tests,” said Anne-Marie Fine, AcaDeca facilitator and social studies teacher. 
The competition consists of two parts: the subjective and objective events. The subjective events include essay, interview and speech, while the objective events are seven subjects that members read and attempt to master throughout the year. 
“Usually it takes place on two different Saturdays, two consecutive weeks. However, this year they divided it into three weeks with the essay, speech, interview and objectives,” junior AcaDeca president Aghigh Banitaba said. 
AcaDeca members devoted their time to the topic of the Cold War since May.
“Studying for so long has definitely paid off. We had meetings throughout the summer, and I think those were really helpful. We’ve also been working since school started. On top of our schoolwork, I mean we can just devote all of our time to studying so it’s challenging but since we got that early start over the summer… that really helped us get that information in our head and allow us to go over everything throughout the school year,” junior Clement Murphy said. 
Studying for the competition has been harder than usual due to problems created by the spread of COVID-19. 
“I think that this year because of COVID and everything being different and our interactions happening via Zoom, the atmosphere of the team was a little more relaxed. Academic Decathlon is an intense activity, I think having that competitive atmosphere with a lot of different activities going on during our meetings and a lot more engagement would have been a little better, but I don’t think that this is something that was on our part. I think it was more because of this year and how it progressed with this online environment,” Banitaba said. 
Despite these challenges, AcaDeca members have “really worked hard in not only their content, but in adjusting to the different aspects of online versus face to face,” Fine said. “I just want the team to enjoy what they’re doing, have fun, and do the best that they can do.”