Park City High School's Academic Decathlon team took home the state title last weekend in St. George. Academic Decathlon (AD) is an elite, academic competition for qualifying high school students and winning the state competition is a big accomplishment for a relatively small school. With the state title for 2013 now under their belts, the team has started to prepare for the National competition, in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the end of April.
"We beat some big 5A schools, like Bingham, Alta, Jordan and also Lone Peak who beat us last year at state and who also went on to Nationals. In terms of population, those schools are three to four times bigger than the size of ours, so the fact that our nine students were able to beat their nine students is always an accomplishment," said Park City High School English teacher and Academic Decathlon coach, Ed Potts.
Senior team member, Matt Parsons, won the overall title for Park City and also placed third in the state.
Each Academic Decathlon competition consists of seven multiple-choice tests in a variety of subjects, two team-performance events and one essay contest. All questions are tied to a theme, which, this year, is Russia The theme stays constant throughout the entire season.
Every team member competes in all subject areas, which include Science, Language, Literature, Art, Music, Social Science, Economics and Math.
"The cool thing about Academic Decathlon is, unlike all the other sports where you compete in divisions, in order to go to Nationals, you have to win your state in all classifications," said Potts.
In order for Park City to advance all the way to Nationals, they had to win the local, regional and state competitions. Park City High School senior, Zeke Anderson, has been on the team for the past two years.
"Honestly, AD has a great group of people. The topics are all really interesting and you learn a lot and it is a great place to learn skills and make friends. Overall, it's just a really fun club," said Anderson.
To attend the Nationals in Minneapolis, the team has had to raise funds to try to cover some of the traveling fees.
"We fundraise and try to get as much covered for the kids. We've done bake sales, hosted volleyball tournaments for club volleyball teams and we also did the Phone-a-Thon for the Ed Foundation," said Potts.
With a team of eight seniors and one junior, the team is optimistic that Nationals can end the 2013 season as a success.
"The competition is really tough and after losing at state last year, we were all really disappointed but we're fired up to win this year. We have always done generally well at Nationals, so we might make top three," said Anderson.