AcDec continues striving for success at the upcoming state competition

Credit: usad.org

Credit: usad.org

Akshitha Venkataraman, Managing Editor

The Academic Decathlon (AcDec) at LTHS provides students the opportunity to compete in various events that challenge and stimulate them intellectually to perform to the best of their ability. However, the past years have been particularly challenging for the AcDec team due to changing virtual settings in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As part of AcDec, students choose to compete at various levels and gain knowledge in a vast array of subjects, such as the social sciences, literature, economics, and art. 

“As a program, AcDec prepares students for all ways of post-graduate life that I believe is essential to students’ success as adults,” AcDec coach Jillian Schattle said. “Outside of learning detailed information and study skills to memorize their topics, the students must prepare a speech and complete an interview. These pieces of our competition really prepare students for the essential adult life skills that they need.”

The group environment in AcDec is also another defining aspect of the competitions. 

“Our team is so supportive and everyone is so stoked for the coming competitions!” junior Maya Smith said. “As the year has gone by, I’ve grown a great relationship with the other members, and I’ve learned a lot from them!”

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, competitions were switched to a virtual platform rather than the usual in- person meets. 

“We definitely were very disappointed when it switched to virtual, but we just used it as more motivation to prepare.” sophomore Krutika Manwadkar said. 

Nevertheless, previous experience with virtual settings helped students prepare. 

“Using Zoom shifts how we prepare, as students need to use their body language in a different way, for example with sitting instead of standing,” Schattle said. “However, we did compete entirely virtually last year, so many of my seniors were used to this and were able to adjust easily.” 

Ultimately, AcDec has had long lasting impacts on students apart from solely competing. 

 “I think the main takeaways, other than learning about the subjects, have been to manage my time better, and improve my teamwork and social skills!” Smith said. 

The team continues to place and has a state competition at the end of February, following their win at the district competition past December. 

“The students had been working so hard,” Schattle said, “and it was exciting to see their hard work pay off!”