ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Academic Decathlon club takes state title


Joe Pohoryles

Besides working on homework from classes or studying for tests over the weekends, students in the Academic Decathlon Club (ACDEC) are studying other material, as they get ready for the national competition in April 19, 20, and 21 in Frisco, Texas


The first stop towards the national title was the regional competition. On Feb. 23 the Academic Decathlon team traveled to Trumbull, Connecticut to compete in regionals on Feb. 24.


The team brought home first place and is now the Maryland Academic Decathlon 2018 State Champions. The ultimate goal for the club will be winning the national title.


Academic Decathlon is a national and international 10-subject academic competition for high school teams. There are a range of events with one common theme that is different every year. “One year it was India, one year it was World War II, and the students are scored based on how well they perform in these events,” former sponsor Keith Yanity said.


The Academic Decathlon Club currently has about 15 students and is sponsored by English teacher Kristen Haynes. The president is senior Daniel Zhang. The club was founded in 2012 by graduate Ish Baid. Baid participated in an ACDEC in his former high school before moving here, and “he wanted to keep doing it in high school, so he established the club at Wootton,” Zhang said.


The club meets every Sunday afternoon for about two hours at the Universities at Shady Grove. Usually during a meeting, a lecture is created by a team captain, which is “presented to the other members on the club in order to educate them on the subject matter. They take notes and ask questions, in preparation for competition,” according to the Academic Decathlon Students Club Renewal Application.


During a meeting, there is a lot of teaching involved, since a new curriculum is created every year that includes seven academic subjects. The club learns the new material with, “100+ PDFs for each subject,” Zhang said.


Zhang organizes meetings, prepares study materials and does everything in his power “to make sure my teammates are successful in competition,” Zhang said.


Some of the past accomplishments by the Academic Decathlon club include being “Four time defending Maryland state champions, 2012-2013 best young team in the nation, and two top 20 finishes at the national competition,”  according to the Academic Decathlon Students Club Renewal Application.


Now the application will have to be changed to six time defending Maryland state champions. The club has also “been to nationals for the past five years in various locations in the USA, including Alaska and Hawaii,” Zhang said.


Any students looking for a club should consider ACDEC. “it’s an authentic way for students to be able to explore their curiosities but also gain knowledge about new topics in a supportive environment,” Haynes said.


Eric Yeh

Staff Writer