Academic Decathlon Celebrates Regional Awards

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Pictured top row from left: Coach Matthew Stuart, Alexander Jakimowicz, Omar Ali, Ayan Panchal, Lily Kearney, Jaishal Desai, Brian Weglinski, Olivia Irala. Second row: Luana Aragon, Caroline Mozo, Ernestina Fierro, Tanaz Gafur, Nada Ramach, Kimberly Feliz

Many awards and recognitions were given out to both teams and individual players at the reception for the Academic Decathlon regional awards held on Wednesday, January 31 at Rutherford High School. The Academic Decathlon is an academic, team competition where students compete in various topics (math, literature, social science, science, music, art, and music. Students are also judged on an interview, essay, and writing an original speech.) against students from other schools.

Clifton High School’s Academic Decathlon team won third place in the region and is moving on to the states! The team won over 31,000 combined points, earning many medals which were awarded to individual team players, as well as a team trophy. The team also won second place in the Super Quiz, an event that concluded the Regional competition where nine individuals from the team competed against other individuals from other schools in 14 question rounds. Regionals were held on Saturday at Woodrow Wilson Middle School here in Clifton.

Wednesday’s reception featured multiple school districts from neighboring areas such as Wallington, Hackensack, and Ridgefield Park. The winners of each category, division, and subject were all announced and given their respective medals and recognition. The reception also featured light refreshments and a speech given by the winner in the speech category, a student from Rutherford High School who wrote about her interpretation of what it means to be a child of immigrants.

The reception at Rutherford High School.

The Academic Decathlon team of Clifton High School has been a very structured, driven, and successful organization. Coach Matthew Stuart has been coaching and leading the team for the past eight years.

The Academic Decathlon team prepares students for competition on regional, state, and national levels. These competitions test students on various academic and communication skills, all very essential for success in the future. Each subject the students are tested on directly corresponds to that year's chosen topic or theme. This year the theme was technology and humanity, so the social science portion featured aspects of psychology and neuroscience while the designated novel for the literature section was The Lathe of Heaven. Each team has 18 individuals split into Starters and Alternates as well as three separate divisions: Honors, Scholastic, and Varsity.

Each student is selected to be on the team, pre-season. This is determined by the student’s participation, scrimmage results, a written essay, and a mock interview. The team often organizes “long night” practices where we stay after school until about 6 pm, studying on the smart board and quizzing each other.

Pictured from left to right: Seniors Lily Kearney, Jaishal Desai, Luz Perez-Aquino, Brian Weglinski, Junior Alexander Jakimowicz, Amira Mustafa, and Omar Ali holding their medals, plaques, and the team trophy.

The Academic Decathlon team of Clifton High School is a great way to improve your academic abilities, communication or public speaking skills, and meet new people who have similar interests and goals. It is a great opportunity at our high school, as it creates a place of shared interest among students who may not partake in the school's bustling athletic culture. It’s a valuable group with great leadership that brings many opportunities to the many bright students who join the team. 

Once again, congratulations to the Academic Decathlon team!



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