It took place in the heart of California, not Nagano, Japan. And the competitors braved rain, not snow. But those gathering to compete in the Sacramento County Academic Decathlon were, just like the Olympic athletes, about to see the rewards of months of training and dedication.
Close to 200 high school students, representing 18 area high schools, tested their knowledge in the 18th Annual Sacramento County Academic Decathlon Saturday, February 7, at California State University, Sacramento, 6000 J Street.
After a gathering of all the "decathletes" in the college gym at 8 a.m., students spent the day competing for top individual and team scores in 10 different "Olympic" events: Economics, Fine Arts, Science, Social Science, Language, Literature, Mathematics, Essay, Interview, and Speech.
Approximately 100 community volunteers donated their time as testers, proctors, and speech judges. At the end of the day, an audience of close to 500 friends, family members, and community leaders cheered on the students as they participated in the final event: the Super Quiz.
Taking place from 4–5 p.m. in the gym, the Super Quiz challenged the student teams to take on the topic, "Globalization: The New Economy." This year's Super Quiz-master was Richard "Rick" Simpson, President of the Sacramento County Board of Education.
Winners of the various Olympic events and the Super Quiz will be announced at the awards banquet Wednesday, February 11, 6:30 p.m. at Sacramento's Doubletree Hotel. In the tradition of the Olympics, awards will consist of Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals. The overall winning team will go on to represent Sacramento County in the California Academic Decathlon in March 1998.
"We can be just as proud of these 'decathletes' as we are of their U.S. Olympic counterparts," said Dr. David P. Meaney, Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools. He pointed out that, with the help of their coaches—teachers and parent volunteers—the students "collectively have spent thousands of hours 'working out' to perfect their presentation skills and learn important facts.