Local schools score high in academic decathlon


By Erin Glanville | Special to the Almanac

Can you answer these questions?

1. What female artist made high-impact pieces using black and white photos mixed with text that chronicled her observations about racial and gender stereotypes? A) Nan Goldin B) Diane Arbus C) Lorna Simpson D) Gillian Wearing.

2. Which pattern of natural selection describes changes in population genetics in which the extreme forms of a trait are favored? A) directional selection B) disruptive selection C) artificial selection D) stabilizing selection.

(Answers are at the bottom of this story.)

Students from two Menlo Park schools competing in the California Catholic Schools Academic Junior High Decathlon knew the answers to those questions. Their intensive preparation enabled St. Raymond to take first place and Nativity School, second place, in overall scoring at the event held March 7 in Redwood City.

The decathlon is a day-long competition for students in grades 6-8. There are 10 events, two of which are a team effort: an hour-long logic quiz and a "SuperQuiz" made up of 50 questions related to social studies, science, fine arts, literature and religion. In addition, there are eight individual tests on mathematics, religion, English, literature, science, current events, social studies, and fine arts.

Awards are given for individual and team performance, and the winning school team from each geographic diocese competes in a state championship that will be held April 18 in Sacramento.

Other schools that competed included All Souls, in South San Francisco; Ecole Notre Dame des Victoires, St. Gabriel, St. Vincent de Paul, Saint Peter and Paul School, and School of the Epiphany, all in San Francisco; Immaculate Heart of Mary, Belmont; Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Pius, both of Redwood City; and St. Charles, San Carlos.

To prepare for the grueling event, students at both Menlo Park schools met with coaches and teachers before and after school, at lunch, and on weekends for five months.

St. Raymond took top honors with an overall first-place finish after correctly answering 50 out of 50 SuperQuiz questions and earning a third-place finish in logic. Students at the school took home these individual awards: first place, religion and current events; second place, math, social studies and English; third place, fine arts.

St. Raymond team members were Christian Powell, Ronan MacRunnels, Thaddeus Sison, Sebi Marshall, Leslie Duke, Isa Robinson, Dylan Huey, Matthew Huo, Lexi Bundy, Maggie Leahy, Kevin King, James Garrow and Max Zieger.

Nativity School earned an overall second-place finish, correctly answering 49 out of 50 SuperQuiz questions, and received these individual awards: first place, science; second place, current events and fine arts; third place, social studies.

Nativity team members were Jackson Mar, Diego Stone, Phoebe Wong, McKaela Glanville, James Cuff-Alvarado, Luke Edward Harding Bradley, Amelia Rajakumar, Quinn Meinhardt, Lauren Roque, Casey Chamberlain, and Leia Bonifacio.

Answers to questions at the top: C & B.

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