FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Students across the Central Valley have spent months studying everything relating to the country of India.
The speeches and essays they're preparing aren't even part of their required school work. Hoover High teacher Jan Trotter quizzes her students on India's rich history.
The daily coaching is all part of the nearly eight months they've been preparing for this year's academic decathlon. "They just are that much more excellent in my opinion because they strive to do better just because they can," Trotter said.
More than 400 Fresno County students from 26 different schools study culture, economics and everything in between making sure they can skillfully write essays and prepare speeches for the competitive event. "To be in something like this it adds on to what I'm doing in school and empowers me to do more every day," junior Joshua Ortega said.
The students are a required mix of different grade point averages. They say working together creates a positive bond between them. "It's been kind of tough putting in time for it," senior Marisela Hernandez said. "And then I have AP classes but it's really fun because you meet new people and you guys are like a family."
Many of the students have other after school commitments and schoolwork, but it still doesn't stop them from spending extra hours every week to study the academic decathlon material.
Plus there's a competitive edge among them, each hoping to beat out some of Fresno County's other high school teams who have won before. "We anticipate that it will be a battle again the schools are amazing," said Jennifer Quinn-Yovino with the county's Office of Education. "And we have a lot of schools that are up and coming and very competitive and very motivated so I really don't know how will come out on top."
The kids here at Hoover will be squeezing in a couple extra sessions before the academic decathlon. The event begins at 10 a.m.