Hawks make 8th Academic Decathlon win in a row

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For the eighth consecutive year, Bishop Hendricken High School is the state Academic Decathlon champion.

The team, which won its division in the nationals last year, will now go on to compete in the United States Academic Decathlon next month.

This year's field of state’s decathletes featured more than 200 students from 12 schools from across the state. They competed in the daylong event on Sunday at the Community College of Rhode Island. This year marked the 35th annual decathlon.

Johnston High School placed second and Classical High School finished third.

Toll Gate High School placed 7th in the competition.

This year's decathlon theme was Africa. Each team received packets of information about Africa and then spent countless hours preparing for Sunday’s event. The packets contained everything from information booklets to CDs of African music, all of which helped teams to prepare for the day's events.

The decathlon consists of 10 events, including seven written tests on seven different subjects including math, science, economics, art, language, literature, and social science. Each participant had to prepare and deliver a short speech, complete an interview with the judges and then take part in the final Super Quiz Relay.

U.S. Representative James Langevin spoke to the students during the event and told them that their efforts were laudable. “We need to celebrate programs like the Academic Decathlon like we celebrate other [sports] programs,” he said.

Indeed, the atmosphere during the Super Quiz Relay felt like the final moments of a hotly contested football game as the students and the crowd cheered each correct answer.

The Super Quiz Relay has long been a crowd favorite as students in each division – varsity, scholastic and honors – competed, answering multiple-choice questions relating to Africa.

At the awards ceremony, Bishop Hendricken’s coach Sister Carol Anne Murray won the Augustine Capotosto Coach’s Award. The award is named for the late chairman of the State Board of Regents and one of the initial members of the Rhode Island Academic Decathlon board. Sister Carol Anne is a veteran of the decathlon and knows the elements to put together a winning team.

She said being a member of the decathlon team requires dedication and a singular focus. She said the Academic Decathlon is like a sport event, adding that the team practiced with great intensity. They begin their training in the summer, and continue two days a week throughout the school year.

“I own them,” she said with a grin. What develops throughout the course of the practices is a bond of brotherhood and, as a result, a stronger team.

“When they’re in Academic Decathlon mode, they have each others’ backs,” she added.

With Sunday’s victory, the Hendricken team will now compete in the national Academic Decathlon in Frisco, Texas.

Bishop Hendricken finished with 45,280 points, almost 12,000 more than second-place Johnston Senior High School. The team also placed first in the Super Quiz. The individual winners from Hendricken were:

Yongyuan Huang finished in first place in Honor division and won a Bronze – Language & Literature, Bronze – Music, Gold – Science, Silver – Art, Gold – Mathematics and Gold – Economics, Gold – Social Science.

Dylan Temel finished in second place in Honor division and won a Gold -Language & Literature, Gold – Music, Gold – Art, Gold – Mathematics, Bronze – Economics, Gold – Essay and Silver – Social Science.

Mitchell Boyer finished in first place in Scholastic division and Gold – Language & Literature, Bronze – Music, Gold – Science, Gold – Art, Gold – Economics, Gold – Essay, Bronze – Speech and Bronze – Social Science.

A. Alden Pratt finished in second place in Scholastic division and won Bronze – Language & Literature, Silver – Music, Bronze – Science, Bronze – Art, Bronze – Mathematics and Silver – Social Science.

Jaidan Idarraga finished in first place in Varsity division and won Gold – Language & Literature, Bronze – Music, Gold – Science, Gold – Art, Bronze – Mathematics, Silver – Economics, Bronze – Essay, Silver – Speech, Bronze and Interview, Gold – Social Science.

Ryan Murphy finished in second place in Varsity division and won Silver – Language & Literature, Gold – Music, Bronze – Science, Silver – Art, Silver – Mathematics, Bronze – Speech and Bronze – Social Science.

Harris Gazder finished in third place in Varsity division and won Bronze – Language & Literature, Silver – Music, Bronze – Art, Gold – Interview and Silver – Social Science.

Stephen Marandola and Timothy Dziekan are also members of the Hendricken team.

Ian Camp of the Pilgrim team won a Bronze in Mathematics in the Varsity division.

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