Academic Decathlon to compete in annual scrimmage on Oct. 23


Sarosh Ismail

Juniors Sheba Korah and Marissa Kouba get ready to learn about the general math subject from math teacher Cameron Casalini. The AcDec competition covers 10 subjects — seven subjectives and three objectives. “The unique thing about AcDec is that it’s a group of kids who genuinely care,” senior Unaiza Khakoo said. “It’s a family and it’s fun.”

Academic Decathlon (AcDec) will have its first scrimmage against other LISD schools on Oct. 23 at the freshman campus.  

The scrimmage is hosted by Hebron and is to assess the team’s score to see how it compares to other schools. The team has added more structure as they study for this year’s theme, water. 

“I expect the scrimmage to go really well because we have a good grasp on the subjects that we have covered,” senior Unaiza Khakoo said. “We also took practice tests and those results came out great, so I hope that continues on to the scrimmage and we perform well.” 

After AP US history teacher Travis Zuber left Hebron last year, English teacher Jeanette Rooks replaced him as the second coach. 

“It just seemed like a natural fit when they had a spot for a coach,” Rooks said. “It’s challenging me in a new way, because although I have taught English for a long time, this is more about memorization and facts which makes me think of new ways to teach.”

Along with a new teacher, there have been new recruits joining the team this year. Freshman Angela Ke said although AcDec is challenging, the team has been supportive.

“Going into the class, I had no idea what I was expecting, and it was overwhelming at first because I had no idea of the amount of work we had to do,” Ke said. “My favorite part is how everyone is already so intellectual and mature, so there’s already [a] baseline of respect.”

The class has gone over some of the 10 subjects they are being tested over, and the team has been getting lessons from multiple teachers.

“We have all of these sources of information and it’s fun to learn and have [conversations] about what we’re studying,” Khakoo said. “I think [our] biggest strength would be the environment and the resources we have to help create intelligent and passionate students.”

Last year, AcDec won regionals for the first time and finished in 8th place overall at the State Competition for large schools. 

“I’m impressed by the students and how much they were able to learn in such a short period of time,” Rooks said. “They had a really successful year last year, and I’m hoping we can maintain that level of success.”