Nine Granada Hills Charter High School students received a hero’s welcome Monday after winning the 2016 U.S. Academic Decathlon in Anchorage, Alaska — the school’s fifth Academic Decathlon title in the last six years.
The San Fernando Valley school scored 54,195.1 out of a possible 60,000 points to win the overall competition Saturday. The Granada Hills team members are Mark Aguila, Julian Duran, Isha Gupta, Joshua Lin, Christopher Lo, Aishah Mahmud, Melissa Santos, Mayeena Ulkarim and Jorge Zepeda.
The team members, who returned to California Sunday, were honored during a welcome rally at the school’s flagpole.
“We’d also like to thank our classmates and our friends who have largely been absent from our lives, but we know that even though we’ve had to miss some birthdays … they’ve been there for us every single time — texting us and calling us, making sure that we’re OK,” Santos said. “We miss you guys a lot and thank you for all the support this year.”
The nine-member team dominated 68 other schools at the California Academic Decathlon in March, scoring a record 61,149.6 points out of a possible 65,400.
“Congratulations to the decathlon team for a stellar performance throughout the Academic Decathlon season,” Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Michelle King said earlier. “The entire L.A. Unified family is extremely proud of your unwavering determination, pride and selflessness. You are all champions.”
The three-day national competition, with the theme of India, featured more than 450 students from the United States, Canada, China and the United Kingdom, and concluded Sunday with an awards banquet.
Granada Hills won national titles in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and now 2016.
A California school has now won the U.S. title 14 years in a row, and LAUSD schools have won 17 national titles since 1986.
—City News Service