SPHS Seventh in State Academic Decathlon Competition

Huge Achievement for Second-Year Team

Formed only a year ago, South Pasadena High’s Academic Decathlon team came away with a stunning seventh place finish in last weekend’s state competition.
El Camino Real Charter High School took home the title with 57,747.3 points out of a possible 65,400. Granada Hills Charter High School, the defending three-time national champion, finished second with 57,214.1 points.
“This Academic Decathlon team, under the direction of Mr. Oliver Valcorza, has really made a name for itself among top contenders statewide!” praised South Pasadena High Principal Janet Anderson. “The students have worked very hard to master the content and the presentation skills needed to already become a powerhouse.
Following El Camino Real Charter and Granada Hills Charter were third place finisher Marshal in Los Feliz, Edison in Fresno, Beverly Hills, Chaffey in Ontario, South Pasadena, Franklin in Highland Park, Redondo Union in Redondo Beach and Campolindo in Orinda.
The top two state-finishers will now move on to compete in the 33rd annual United States Academic Decathlon Championship. The competition will take place April 26-28 in Hawaii.
South Pasadena earned the prestigious honor of going to state after claiming second place in Division I in this year’s Los Angeles County competition on January 25 at El Rancho High School and February 1 at the University of Southern California.
Keppel was the top finishing team at the county level with 46,723.7 points, while South Pasadena was only 39 points behind with a score of 46,687.4. There were a total of 65,400 points possible in the competition.
The nine-member team was recognized for its outstanding county competition achievement recently at a ceremony in Montebello.
A year ago, South Pasadena High took home third place in Division III, a lofty achievement for a first-year entry competing at the county level.
With its success last year, the school was moved to Division I, going up against the top schools in the state. The decathlon is an academic competition involving schools throughout the country and locally is sponsored by the Los Angeles County Office of Education.
Valcorza, a second-year advisor and coach of the South Pasadena team, noted: “Competing against the giants of the L.A. Unified Region was really tough, and we only managed to eek out six medals. But, those six medals were enough to make us the most decorated Division I team from L.A. County Region at this year’s state tournament. Two of the six medals we won were gold, and we produced two individual state champions in Art (John Dullaghan) and Social Science (Elise Matsusaka).”

  • : Huge Achievement for Second-Year Team
  • : By Bill Glazier Review Editor
      • Students