Lane Academic Decathlon ready for war
February 15, 2017
Filed under Features
Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.
Email This Story
World War II is a subject looked at in most modern history classes for a few weeks, but Academic Decathlon takes it a step further.
They spend the entire year looking over small details and studying the event from different academic lenses.
Students on the team like Lynne Pavletic, Div. 875, learn details that they personally find interesting and always keep them in mind.
“Stalin eliminated anyone he considered disloyal with the use of his 1936-1928 show trials! He was super paranoid!” Pavletic said.
This class and team take on this task as a part of the curriculum — but also to be able to compete against other schools in a race to be the best.
The Lane Academic Decathlon team has the city competition around the corner on Feb. 18 at Whitney Young. After winning the regional competition Jan. 28 with first place in all divisions at Chicago Vocational School, confidence and hopes are high. This year’s team has also won multiple formal scrimmages and medals so far in schools such as Mather. But with no knowledge on whether their biggest rival Whitney Young is doing well, the road to winning State and proceeding to Nationals is still unclear.
“Whitney Young is our main rival,” Lincoln Rogers, Div. 852, said. “I think that the team will do pretty well this year. This is my first year so I don’t have anything to compare us to, but it seems like we are significantly better than most of the teams.”
In CPS, approximately 70 high schools compete. Each school has a nine-member team consisting of three students with an A grade point average, three with a B average, and three with a C average. The students are tested on seven different topics at the competition. They include, economics, art, literature, math, science, social science, and music. Students in the competition also perform speeches and write essays along with different types of tests. The school with the best scores wins.
According to the United States Academic Decathlon (USAD) three levels of competition are offered: “Honors,” the A level; “Scholastic,” B level; and “Varsity,” the C level team. The Cps Academic Decathlon website states that, “As teams advance through the process of competitive elimination, CPS students compete in two citywide competitions and the citywide winner then progresses to the state competition.”
The final event is the national competition where students compete against other state championship teams.
“Von, Northside, Whitney Young, and Mather usually make it to State. But Lane has come in second place at state every year for at least ten years, with Whitney winning first place,” said Amy Argentar, team president.
Still Argentar believes Lane has a good chance of finally winning State.
“I feel confident this year, as I have in the past,” Argentar said. “In the three years I have been doing this, this year we have the most amount of people, and what I believe to be the smartest group of people we’ve ever had. Every single member of the team is motivated and contributes in their own way.”
But before the competition season, the team did have to face some changes. The previous teacher and coach, Mr. Stepek, was very appreciated by the students and recognized as a great contributor. This year, he was no longer able to coach due to a busy schedule.
Mr. Campos took over as the new teacher and coach and with having no previous experience he relied on the help of Mr. Stepek and his own teaching methods to make the best possible team out of his students.
“I would be completely lost if it weren’t for Mr. Stepek,” Mr. Campos said. “ There’s just a lot of playing that has to go into this class, from finding resources to keep students engaged in the class to scheduling buses and navigating the administration.”
The veteran students also make it work as they work with a new coach.
“The coaching transition has been a little rough, since a lot of veterans of the team are used to doing things one way, it’s sometimes hard for the seniors to keep up,” Argentar said. “But the coach is doing his best since he is new to this. He and I try new things with the best intentions, to help the team beat Whitney. Some work, some don’t — it’s all part of the process.”
Lane’s Academic Decathlon resumes to study daily. Preparing for their next competition on Feb. 18, they continue to focus on the main goal of just winning.