Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy Brains Bring Home Medals from Academic Decathlon

Published : Friday, February 14, 2014 | 3:41 AM

Capping off a long season that involved hours of study before school and a Thanksgiving trip to New York City, members of FSHA’s Academic Decathlon team emerged from its February 1 competition with a record number of medals.

The 18 decathletes were split into two teams for the day-long contest at Bishop Alemany High School, where they took tests, wrote essays and delivered speeches on this year’s topic of World War I. Out of 17 teams in Division II, FSHA’s Team One came in third place; and out of 16 teams in Division III, FSHA’s Team Two ended up in second place.

In addition, FSHA collected 35 individual medals and 27 team medals, making for a school record of 62 medals overall. “This year’s tournament was the largest Academic Decathlon tournament in the history of Southern California,” team moderator Mario Pariante told his team. “As a result, the competition for team placement and individual medals was more fierce than ever! You have upheld the tradition of excellence that our FSHA teams have established over the past seven years.”

Leaders in the medal count were Ashley Wells ’15 with seven, Yaqi Zhang ’16 with five, Lillian Widen ’15 with four, and Adrienne Ashworth ’14 and Lisa Xu ’14 with three medals each. Even so, Mr. Pariante emphasized the team spirit generated by this outcome. “Our exceptionally high team placements in both Division II and Division III would not have been possible without the hard work and high performance of each and every one of you,” he said. “As a result, you all are critically important to the overall team scores regardless of the number of individual medals you won.”

The team got a start on the WWI theme early last semester and continued to explore it outside of the classroom in New York City in November. There, sites of note included spots that represented that wartime era, such as the Museum of Modern Art for a viewing of Pablo Picasso’s Ma Jolie, which he completed in 1912 — two years before the start of the war. “Experiencing the artwork first hand was so helpful because we got to see what we have been learning since August,” Adrienne Ashworth ’14 told the Veritas Shield.

“We visited the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, which was very interesting because we got to see how people were living in New York during the war,” Sierra deSousa ’14 added.

Participants in this year’s Academic Decathlon team were Adrienne Ashworth ’14, Kacey Benson ’14, Sara Collins ’16, Sierra deSousa ’14, Audrey Garibyan ’14, Marjorie Hernandez ’15, Cailynn Knabenshue ’16, Loretta Koch ’15, Carra Liwanag ’15, Monica Montes ’16, Diana O’Toole ’15, Allison Pieroni ’16, Haley Shewfelt ’14, Ashley Wells ’15, Lillian Widen ’15, Electra Williams ’16, Lisa Xu ‘14 and Yaqi Zhang ’16.

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, 440 Saint Katherine Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, (626) 685-8500 or visit www.fsha.org.

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