MCOE Education Spotlight: Merced High School Decathlon team prepares for state championship

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In ABC30's segment, Education Spotlight, Action News Anchor Landon Burke will talk with Merced County Office of Education (MCOE) officials about some of the biggest topics in education.

Some of California's brightest young minds will go head-to-head next month.

Landon Burke spoke with the Merced High School Decathlon team as they prepare for the state competition.

Landon: Give me a little bit of background on what exactly the Academic Decathlon is?

Tianna Liwang, Diego Luna, Joshua Corona, Daniel Chen and Elaine Chuang: Yeah, Academic Decathlon is a class that you can take in which you study on a whole bunch of different subjects, such as science, economy, art. That consists of three other portions, including the speech, interview, and essay. We'll go and compete against different schools to try to take the top spot.

Landon: How does one go about preparing for an academic decathlon? There's a lot of different subjects that can be covered, right?

Tianna Liwang, Diego Luna, Joshua Corona, Daniel Chen and Elaine Chuang: Yeah, so, for a decathlon since there's a pretty immense number of subjects. What we've done is, the month before competition we spend about three weeks preparing each subject, and then we take a level one test at the end. And then in the week right before competition, we take level two tests every day. And obviously become more difficult in the questions. So that was right before. And we also do a lot of team-based activities that help us remember the content better. So by being able to split with the artworks or the music pieces amongst everyone, and have your presentation and makes it far more memorable than it would be reading it from a PDF.

Landon: You guys don't have to give away too many trade secrets here but I want to know what's the secret to your success?

Tianna Liwang, Diego Luna, Joshua Corona, Daniel Chen and Elaine Chuang: Along with like our team exercises and team building within our own class is one of the main reasons is being really solid on all levels of this competition. As this competition is split between the three levels, the honors position, scholastic and varsity, which differ in GPA. What we really try to do is to get every one of these sections to be standard. So we all have a really good opportunity to boost our scores to the end.

Landon: Very cool. Okay, so can you guys tell me about the competition that you've got coming up next.

Tianna Liwang, Diego Luna, Joshua Corona, Daniel Chen and Elaine Chuang: So the next competition we have the state competition and a well it really ramps up from there. There are teams from all over the state naturally. It has a lot of divisions in it, and we are unfortunately part of the lowest division. However, during this state, we will be trying to do our best to prepare for individual subjects rather than a holistic goal in order to try our best to earn a medal in one of the categories. I, for one, am going to be focusing on math and science and economics.

Tianna Liwang, Diego Luna, Joshua Corona, Daniel Chen and Elaine Chuang: I'll be getting literature and music.

Tianna Liwang, Diego Luna, Joshua Corona, Daniel Chen and Elaine Chuang: I'll be doing social science and art.
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