AcDec places second overall at Irving Invitational Nov. 12

AcDec students pose with their plaques and medals after the Greg Jackson Irving Invitational on Nov. 12. (Photo by Donna Friend)

Academic Decathlon (AcDec) placed second overall and had multiple individual medalists at the Greg Jackson Irving Invitational, the first official competition of the season. The competition took place on Nov. 12 at Nimitz High School.

“This meet is so special because [the organizers] work really hard to recognize as many kids for their success as possible,” AcDec co-coach Donna Friend said.

The theme for competitions this year is the American Revolution. Friend, who has taught the class for 21 years, says this year’s AcDec members have approached learning the material head-on and are always willing to try new things and learn from each other.

“They celebrate each other, they get excited when somebody else does well, they share notes and they help each other out,” Friend said. “I like that about them. It’s easier to coach them because they’re having a good time.”

Students compete as a team in the Super Quiz category of the Greg Jackson Irving Invitational. Hebron took first place in the category. (Photo by Donna Friend)

AcDec won first place in the Super Quiz contest, a portion of the competition structured like a game show where students go on stage in teams to answer questions. They also had gold medalists in math, music, science, art and overall individuals.

“I am especially proud of our returning students who have continued to improve,” second year AcDec co-coach Jeanette Rooks said. “They know the importance of preparation, but have continued to improve from one meet to the next as difficulty increases. It shows me that they’re not kicking back, [but] continuing to push themselves. Our new members have jumped in head first with no hesitation and are really competitive.”

Senior Alyssa Brou, who is in her second year as an AcDec member, said the team has a positive atmosphere. The class does team-building activities, goes on field trips and organizes bonding experiences, such as the visit they took to the Dallas Museum of Art Nov. 17 and the Thanksgiving potluck held in class Nov. 18. Brou has said activities like these are fun and help her build stronger relationships with the people in the class.

“I enjoy [AcDec] because there’s a team aspect,” Brou said. “Even though you are taking tests alone, there is the camaraderie. There are people helping each other. [The] team was a little rocky at the beginning [of the year], but it’s definitely coming a lot further than it was last year.”

The team will compete next in the LISD District Scrimmage at the LISD Administrative Center on Dec. 10. To prepare, the team has been looking at previous contest scores and areas in need of improvement. They have also started practicing the interview, speech and essay portions to get ready for other upcoming competitions.

“The competition is a good opportunity to remind [the students] of the value of working on the things that are harder for them,” Rooks said. “Being consistent [in their knowledge] across all subjects really matters. I love that they keep their curiosity and enthusiasm for learning and that they celebrate whatever successes they have while still looking for where they might improve. They’re all just really authentically curious people.”