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Study Hall Heats Up

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LAist freely admits to being a nerd in high school; probably not a startling revelation, but the condition was compounded by participation in the Olympiad of academics: the Academic Decathlon.

In Decathlon competition, teams of nine high school juniors and seniors compete in ten events that test students in the areas of art, music, literature/composition, science, math, social studies, speech, interview, economics and Super Quiz, a quiz-show styled event which focuses on astronomy for the 2005 competition. Though covering just the six-inch binder of study sheets sounds daunting enough, students are also required to read a novel, listen to and learn featured pieces of music, memorize pieces of art, and prepare three-minute speeches. Better yet, most of the events take place back-to-back on a single Saturday.

Many teams put in an additional six or eight hours of study per week to prepare for the event, not to mention the time each student spends studying on their own. LAist isn't really sure how we got through it.

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Survival aside, it is worth nothing that the ever-beleagured LAUSD is home to three national championship AcaDec teams. Marshall, Taft and El Camino Real have all ranked among the top schools in the nation. In fact, seven of California's eleven national championships have been won by LAUSD schools, including the 2004 win by El Camino Real, a three-time champ.

This year's competition will take place this Saturday and the next (January 29th and February 5th), pitting schools from all over the Los Angeles area against each other for a chance to participate in the state competition in March.

The LAUSD is always looking for volunteers to help with the Academic Decathlon. For more information on the event or to support LAUSD students by volunteering (it's not too late!), call (213) 241-6895.

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