On Saturday, January 26, and Saturday, February 2, all four Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District (PYLUSD) comprehensive high schools competed alongside 38 other local high schools in the Orange County Academic Decathlon (OCAD).
For 51 years, this event has invited public and private high school students to compete in a series of academic tests and demonstrations. The topics cover a variety of academic disciplines, including art, economics, essay, interview, language and literature, mathematics, music, science, social science, and speech. This year’s theme was, “The 1960s: A Transformational Decade.”
On Tuesday, February 12, it was announced that PYLUSD high schools earned top honors at the OCAD Awards Ceremony at Santa Ana High School.
In Division 1, Valencia High School (VHS) came in fourth place (fourth overall) for the second year in a row, earning the Tigers a wild card invitation to the state competition scheduled for March in Sacramento. Esperanza High School (EHS) also had a strong showing in Division 1, earning sixth place (sixth overall). The sixth place distinction marks the highest ranking the Aztecs have ever received in Academic Decathlon.
In Division 2, El Dorado High School (EDHS) won fourth place (thirteenth overall). Yorba Linda High School also competed at the Division 2 level, earning many individual medals. In Division 1 and 2, PYLUSD is proud to have three teams ranked among the top fifteen in Orange County!
Here are the individual results from all four PYLUSD high schools:
El Dorado High School
The El Dorado Academic Decathlon Team competed in Orange County Division 2 and placed third in Super Quiz and fourth overall. Among all 42 high schools in the competition, they placed ninth overall in Super Quiz and thirteenth overall.
The highest scoring students were Nicholas Barajas, Dana Arneal, Sebastian Gutierrez, Teju Ramani, and Maverick Shuck. Together, the Golden Hawks earned 28 individual medals, including six first place medals. Teju Ramani and Nicholas Barajas each earned five medals each. Jason Kison and Cameron Kish each earned 4 medals. Bailey Pettey and Alex Hernandez each earned 3 medals. Other team members were Eric Chang, Anita Mohajeri, Jasia Nakamoto, and Peter Weisel.
This year’s team was lead by teacher Bob Kanne, as well as assistant coaches Janmarie Halliday, Amanda Wolf, Kelly Smith, and Tim Vrooman.
Esperanza High School
The Esperanza Aztecs earned sixth place in Division 1 (sixth overall). Students received a total of 28 individual subject medals combined, with at least one medal earned in each of the ten competition categories. Here is a list of the contributing students and individual medals won:
- Myka Comia (12)
- MZ Ahmad (12)
- Brian Nguyen (11)
- Asher Snyder (11)
- Ellie Mullner (11)
- Manav Patel (11)
- Leo Chan (11) = 5th in Social Science
- Mike Dong (23) = 4th in Math
- Katie Kuwahara (12) = 4th in Interview, 5th in Literature
- Emily Macedo (12) = 2nd in Interview, 3rd in Social Science
- Gauri Deepa-Sreelal (12) = 3rd in Interview, 4th in Social Science, 4th in Math
- Catie Mullner (12) = 2nd in Essay, 3rd in Speech, 3rd in Interview, 5th in Music
- Jimmy Jude (11) = 1st in Interview, 2nd in Math, 3rd in Art, 3rd in Music, 3rd in Science, 3rd in Essay
- Eric Berg (11) = 1st in Math, 1st in Science, 1st in Essay, 3rd in Art, 3rd in Economics, 3rd in Music, 4th in Literature, 4th in Social Science, 4th in Speech
Notably, Esperanza student Jimmy Jude earned a perfect score (1000 points) in interview. Gauri Deepa-Sreelal’s overall individual score was 10th in Orange County and Catie Mullner’s was 7th overall, which earned them both a $100 scholarship.
The team is coached by teacher Kressler Nguyen-Valdez.
Valencia High School
Valencia High School placed fourth in Division 1 (fourth overall). The team also took third in the Super Quiz competition.
Individual awards included the following:
Curtis Liu had the fourth highest score in the county that included a first place medal and perfect score in Math. He had third place medals in Art, Music, Literature, and Science. He also had a fourth place medal in Social Science and a fifth in Economics.
Caominh Le took sixth place in the Honors category. He had fourth place medals in Music and Math.
Daanesh Jamal took eighth place in the Honors category, taking third in Speech and fourth in Math.
Sean Patel took fourth place in the Scholastic category; taking first in Social Science, second in Art, third in Literature and Math, fourth in Economics, and fifth in Music.
Sidra Ali took tenth place in Scholastic, with first place medals in Essay and Economics.
Other students competing in Division 1 who took medals were Melissa Vu (third in Essay and fifth in Literature) and Joshua Hall (fifth in Economics). William Park and Shubh Shah also contributed to the success of the main competition team.
A number of students competing in Division 2 had outstanding performances. Anthony Zhang received first place in Literature and Economics, second in Social Science, third in Science, fourth in Math, and fifth in Art and Music. Anthony Nguyen had first place medals in Art, Science, and Social Science; second in Essay, third in Economics and Music, fourth in Math, and fifth in Literature. Sannuth Rao had first place medals in Social Science and Economics as well as a second place award in Art. Shane Sawyer received a first place in Music, fourth place in Science and Art, and fifth place in Literature. Morgan Gee placed first in Math and third in Economics. Iman Ali received a third place medal in Literature and a fifth in Math. Victor Yoo received a second place medal in Essay.
The team is lead by teachers Samuel Myovich, Tara Filowitz, Kay Kirby, Fred Jenkins, Mindi Foote, and Calen Rau.
Yorba Linda High School
Yorba Linda High School’s Mustangs performed well at the 2018-19 Academic Decathlon tournament. In Division 2, Katelyn Birchfield (11) and Jenee Anekwe (11) led the way both earning a second place medal for the Honors Division (3.75-4.00) in Math and Speech. AJ Song (12) and won three medals in Honors level, including a second place for Speech. Lauren Bui (12) earned a fourth place medal in the Honors level for Speech. Courney Poon (12) won two medals, including a 2nd place medal for Math in the Scholastic Division (3.00-3.74). Wesley Dale (12) earned a 1st place medal for Math and 2nd place for Economics. Ryan Burgess (11) won four medals including two 3rd place medals for Math and Economics in the varsity level and Brent Yun earned a 5th place medal for Economics.
The team was lead by coach Kelly Buchan.