UHS Academic Decathlon team 2nd at State, advances to Nationals

It’s been a year of firsts for the Union High School Academic Decathlon team. In February, the team topped Grundy Center for the first time in the Super Quiz competition on their way to winning the first regional championship in school history. After posting the second highest qualifying score in the small schools division, the team’s performance at the State Competition has now earned them a trip to Frisco, Texas to compete at the 2018 United States Academic Decathlon National Competition.

At the State Competition, Union’s overall point total of 35,267.3 was bested only by perennial small school powerhouse, South Central Calhoun, which posted a score of 38,973.7 points. Because South Central Calhoun opted to compete in the Online National Competition, Union’s academic decathletes and their coach, Kerrie Michael, will make their first trip to Texas to compete at Nationals.

The Academic Decathlon is more a marathon than a sprint. In addition to delivering a speech, writing an essay and participating in an interview, students take multiple choice exams in each of the Academic Decathlon subjects: Art, Music, Social Science, Science, Economics, Literature, and Mathematics. Each year, an overall curricular theme guides student learning. This year’s theme is Africa. Teams consist of students competing in three levels determined by grade point average (GPA). That makes the contributions of students at the Varsity level (below a 3.0 GPA), equally important as those at the Scholastic (3.0-3.74) and Honors (3.75+) levels.

All twelve members of Union’s Academic Decathlon team competed at the State Competition, including sophomore Gabe Hines and freshman Ryan Bowers, who were the team’s alternates competing against other alternates at the scholastic level. By rule, only the two highest scores in each level are counted to determine the overall team score. For the six students on Union’s team whose scores were not counted, the opportunity to compete at State provides valuable experience, especially for those underclassmen who return to compete again next year.

Union’s outstanding performance at State was, indeed, a team effort. Of the 90 eligible awards for individual subjects, Union students took home a total of 26. Union senior Emily Wilson was the recipient of a 2018 Iowa Academic Decathlon Board Scholarship. To be considered for the $500 scholarship, applicants must submit an essay that describes how their participation in Academic Decathlon has benefited them as a person and a student.
The 2018 United States Academic Decathlon Nationals will be held April 19-21 in Frisco, Texas.

2018 Iowa Academic Decathlon State Competition – Individual Awards for Union High School

At the Iowa Academic Decathlon State Competition in Fort Dodge March 2-3, students from Union High School took home nearly a third of all the individual subject awards available, with gold, silver and bronze awards corresponding with first, second and third place finishes.
Audrey Powers (Honor): Silver Medalist Overall; BRONZE-Music; GOLD-Science; BRONZE-Art; BRONZE-Social Science;
Noah Damro (Honor): GOLD-Essay
Abby Johnson (Scholastic): SILVER-Literature; SILVER-Speech
Emily Wilson (Scholastic): SILVER-Economics
Libby Sauer (Varsity): Bronze Medalist Overall; BRONZE-Literature; SILVER-Music; BRONZE-Science; SILVER-Art; BRONZE-Essay
Lucian Rockhold (Varsity): BRONZE-Music; BRONZE-Social Science
Sethan Jurgemeyer (Varsity): GOLD-Interview
Ryan Bowers (Alternate, Scholastic): Bronze Medalist Overall; GOLD-Literature; SILVER-Music; GOLD-Science; BRONZE-Art; GOLD-Social Science
Gabe Hines (Alternate, Scholastic): Silver Medalist Overall; SILVER-Literature; GOLD- Music; GOLD-Science; SILVER-Art; GOLD-Economics

Did You Know?

Seventeen colleges and universities in the state of Iowa offer scholarships for students who have participated in Iowa Academic Decathlon. The amount of the scholarship, which can be as much as $3,000, is often linked to the student’s placement as one of the top three scorers at the State Competition. Several of the institutions automatically renew the scholarship for students in good academic standing.