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Granada Hills Charter High gets big welcome home after 2nd decathlon win

April 30, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Granada Hills Charter High School Academic Decathlon team received a champion's welcome home Monday after winning the U.S. Academic Decathlon for the second year in a row.

They beat the second place team from Illinois by more than 4,300 points.

"At first I was a little surprised that I got so many medals because I felt like I didn't do that well," said team member Jimmy Wu. "But after I got all these medals I was really excited and really happy and honored that I won all of these achievements."

Wu and his teammates are back-to-back National Academic Decathlon champions. And they didn't just win -- they broke their own record. The team racked up 5,400 points, which is 100 points above last year's winning score and the highest score ever in the competition's 31-year history.

"I didn't think it was possible to break 5,300 and my team broke it, and easily too," said Wu.

The students squared off against schools from around the country in mathematics, economics, physics, literature, music and more.

"We were working towards not just winning, but we were working towards breaking that record, and every time we got closer it was just the most exciting thing in the world," said team member Julia Wall.

The team returned from New Mexico on Saturday and received a pat on the back Monday morning from school Principal Brian Bauer.

"We're thrilled, it couldn't have happened to, it couldn't have been earned by a more gracious and humble group of students and coaches," he said.

The students achieved their success as a team. Not all of them are straight-A students, but they all spent long hours studying to overcome individual weaknesses with the help of their coaches.

"To watch each of these kids work through those things to try to improve themselves I think is really what this program is all about," said coach Mathew Arnold.

Granada Hills Charter High is only the third school to win consecutive titles.


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