Three PYLUSD high schools place in Orange County Academic Decathlon

Valencia High School Academic Decathlon team

Congratulations to three PYLUSD high schools for placing at the 49th annual Orange County Academic Decathlon competition on Friday, Feb. 10, at Santa Ana High School.

In Division 1, Valencia High School came in second place (second place overall). In Division 2, El Dorado High School came in first place (eighth place overall), and Esperanza High School came in second place (10th place overall). PYLUSD was the only school district with three teams in the Top 10 overall.

The Valencia Academic Decathlon team placed second in Division 1, and first in the Super Quiz Relay. This is the fourth year in a row that Valencia has won the Super Quiz, and the sixth time in the last eight years. This is the ninth year in a row Valencia has qualified for the state competition. The team earned an amazing 78 individual medals. In addition, eight Tigers placed in the county. In the Honors category, Naadir Jamal placed second, James Wang placed fourth and Saw Kyaw placed ninth. In the Scholastic category, Sienna Chen placed third and Rojan Rijal placed 10th. In the Varsity category, Brennan Ackermann placed fifth, Vincent Vargas placed sixth and Tiffanie Nguyen placed seventh. Finally, the team earned $3,000 in scholarships based on individual performances. Way to go, Tigers!

Team members include Brennan Ackermann, Ashley Chen, Sienna Chen, Nathalie Hong, Saw Kyaw, Naadir Jamal, Erika Kim, Erin Kim, Tiffanie Nguyen, Rojan Rijal, Vincent Vargas, James Wang and Sharon Wang.

El Dorado
The El Dorado Academic Decathlon team placed first in Division 2, and eighth place overall among all 42 teams at the competition. The team brought home a first place plaque for the school’s front office, 39 individual medals and 18 team medals (57 medals, total). It was one of the best performances ever by El Dorado.

Senior Ben May earned the most prestigious recognition – among the 120-150 students in his category, he placed eighth overall, earning a $100 scholarship and a certificate. He is the third El Dorado student in the past nine years to accomplish this. He brought home two firsts, three seconds and two fourths. Additionally, Caleb Garrett had six medals, including three firsts. Kristen Mabry had four medals, including two firsts. Vanessa Ragan and Jason Kison also won four medals each. Three medals were earned by Ganesh Ramachandran (one first), Daniel Hwang (one first) and Kyle Reed. Spencer Vito earned two medals. Leon Li, Kuixi Ren and Adam Gorny also medaled.

El Dorado High School Academic Decathlon team


Esperanza students earned 27 subject medals, and the school earned at least one medal in nine of the 10 categories for academic decathlon. Team members include:

  • Michael Endo: seven medals (first in literature, first in social science, second in math, third in science, fourth in art, fifth in music, fifth in economics)
  • Emily Carr: six medals (second in interview, third in literature, third in speech, fifth in economics, fifth in art, fifth in social science)
  • Aaron Duan: five medals (second in science, fourth in art, fourth in math, fifth in social science, fifth in speech)
  • Ethan Moll: four medals (first in music, second in speech, fourth in social science, fifth in art)
  • Ryan Salcido: two medals (fourth in interview, fourth in economics)
  • Kevin Choi: two medals (fourth in art, fifth in science)
  • Cally Liu: one medal (first in music)
  • Lyric Madison
  • David Matta
  • Emily Pandhi
  • Jessica Youssef

Esperanza took second in the Super Quiz Relay, and earned second place overall in Division 2. Of the 42 schools participating, Esperanza is 10th overall in Orange County.

Esperanza High School Academic Decathlon team

Yorba Linda
The Yorba Linda High School Academic Decathlon team also competed in Division 2 of the competition. While the team didn’t place in the top 10, they did win fourth place in the Super Quiz Relay, one of the main parts of the competition. Additionally, several students placed in individual events. Sydney Baugh, Elwyn Cruz, Bradley Mont, Courtney Poon and Sumesh Rawal each earned one medal. Nathan Piliero received two medals. William Russell had five medals. Angel De Trinidad got six medals. And Shiven Rawal won seven medals, including two firsts places! Congratulations to these kids and coaches for their hard work and effort.

Academic Decathlons are designed to prepare students for college and careers by promoting 21st-century skills. Nine-member teams battle for the highest scores on multiple-choice exams, speeches, interviews and essay assignments based on a yearly theme. This year’s theme was World War II. Students are tested in the areas of art, language and literature, mathematics, music, science, and social science. The event culminates with the popular Super Quiz Relay, which takes place in front of an audience. The next Academic Decathlon contest is the state-level competition in Sacramento. Click here for more information.

1 Comment on "Three PYLUSD high schools place in Orange County Academic Decathlon"

  1. Way to go Tigers and PYLUSD!!! Wooooooo!

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