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Local school wins 6th U.S. Academic Decathlon

May 17, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Woodland Hills school is celebrating a record-breaking national victory, but you're more likely to find these champions in the study hall than on the playing field. A team of bright students at El Camino Real High School won the 2010 U.S. Academic Decathlon for their record 6th national championship. They were given a pep rally like they were star athletes.

"If there is a tradition to how we win, I'm not sure, but we're very happy to have the sixth," said decathlon team member Daniel Dehaas.

When the football team was practicing last summer, these students tackled the books and studied subjects like math, science and history.

In the spring, when the baseball team was practicing, the seven seniors and two juniors threw test questions at each other much like a pitcher throws a fast ball and the occasional curve.

Last month, their hard work paid off with 21 individual medals and the school's 6th national title.

"There was a lot of pressure considering we're from California, and California has won so many times in a row, and being form El Camino, we have such a great track record," said another team member Audrey Goldbaum. "We have so much pressure, but that pressure really drives us to do really well and study even harder."

The seven seniors are all headed to college, Cal, U.C. Riverside, Stanford are just some of the schools. Being the smartest high school kids in the country, as one team member put it, is something to brag about.

"It's phenomenal when your kids do well," said the team's academic coach Stephanie Franklin. "I want them all to make themselves proud. I want them to make their families proud, and they did it. They made the school extremely proud."

Franklin and other coaches are already working on next year's team, and tryouts for the math team took place Monday.


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