Friday, February 25, 2011


By Deontha Wortham | Carson High School Trailblazer – from My High Journalism/ |

Poses before SuperQuiz – photo: Justine Pascual

Friday, February 25, 2011 - The scene in Hollywood High’s auditorium was one of delight and bliss as Carson High School’s Academic Decathlon team, led by their coach ASA Science Teacher Debbie Morris, won six medals, three conference awards, Most Improved Team in Los Angeles Unified School District’s Conference #2, and placed 32nd out of 64 high schools.

     All of these awards came after the team went to a two-part competition that spanned two separate Saturdays, January 29th and February 5th, and consisted of ten topics that included Speech, Interview, Essay, Art, and Super Quiz.

     The first part of the competition, which occurred on January 29 at Roybal Learning Center, was strictly about Speeches, Interviews, and Essays.

     In this round Carson’s team presented their speeches that ranged in topics from law, education, softball, and even one team member’s love of food.

    Following their speeches, each Decathlete was interviewed by a panel of three judges. Those two events, along with an essay, preceded both the former events, concluded the first day.

     Recalling that first day, Varsity team member Alexandria McEwen (senior) expressed her thoughts, “It was nerve racking but I went in there with an open mind, and it ended up not being as bad as I thought it would be. After seeing how supportive my team was following the competition, I knew that we had it in the bag.”

    On the following Saturday, February 5, Carson High’s Decathletes were once again at Roybal, eager to make our school proud. It was on this day that the Decathletes completed tests in the various subjects that were focused around AcaDeca’s central topic, “The Great Depression.” Following the seven tests that day, the decathletes then participated in the day’s main event, the Super Quiz Competition, where each division of the team (Honors(A), Scholastic(B), and Varsity(C)) answered ten questions about geology in front of a crowd of approximately five hundred people.

  Scholastic team Member Alyssa Bolden (senior) commented on the Super Quiz competition, “Surprisingly, it was really exciting. It ranked up there with the likes of a basketball or football game.”

   After their gallant effort in both rounds of the competition the team then had to wait until the following Friday to learn if their long and tedious work had paid off.

     To say the least, it did. Four of our eight decathletes went home on February 11 and earned recognition from the award ceremony. Team Captain Genesis M. Garcia, who competed in the Honors division and was a part of AcaDeca for a second continuous year, walked away with two medals, a Gold in Speech and Silver in Interview. Another Honors Decathlete Justine Pascual walked home with a Conference Award in Essay, earning the second best score in Conference #2 for that category. Scholastic decathlete Deonta D. Wortham won two Gold medals with perfect scores of 1000 in both Speech and Interview along with conference awards in Social Science and Economics. And lastly, Varsity decathlete Alexandria McEwen won two medals a Gold Medal in Interview with a perfect score of 1000, along with a Bronze Medal in Speech.

     Team Captain Genesis M. Garcia (Senior) recalled the experience saying, “When my team members and I received recognition, the entire team would literally erupt in joy.”

     In all, Carson’s AcaDeca team went home with an amazing six medals and the title of Most Improved in LAUSD’s  Conference #2.

     It was an exciting experience to end a long, strenuous year. With this exciting end to a triumphant year Coach Debbie Morris commented, “The team worked very hard and I am very proud of them. Next year we will have to move up in the standings. It is time that Carson High is known again for academic accomplishments as well as athletics.”

     So if you see any of our decathletes (Krystal Arenas, Alyssa Bolden, Elisa Garcia, Genesis M. Garcia, Alexandria McEwen, Kimberly Ngouv, Justine Pascual, or Deonta D. Wortham) around campus, stop them and tell them a “good job” because we all know that they surely deserve it. Who knows, maybe next year you could be a part of this prized bunch.

2cents smf: This article from the Carson HS student newspaper brings the excitement and sheer joy of the Academic Decathlon competition to the reader …that is good journalism!   Carson didn’t win the city, state or national championship - but they competed and they excelled and they rock!

I do not doubt for a second that they well move up in the standings next year – that Carson can again be known for academics + athletics. Rock on!

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