Months of resolute studying paid off for eight Azusa High School students as they earned 14 individual medals at the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) Academic Decathlon.

After two days of rigorous competition against 45 L.A. County schools, Azusa High Academic Decathlon team members Daniel Ayala, Jasmine De Los Santos, Victor Duong, MacKaela Esslin, Ronnie Gomez, Andy Gonzalez, Julia Lydick and Keoni Montoya celebrated their wins with their coach Cami Bushem and Principal Ramiro Rubalcaba at the LACOE Awards Banquet held Feb. 11 at the Quiet Cannon in Montebello.

“The tremendous effort displayed by the Azusa High academic decathlon team is a testament to their work ethic, as well as the brilliant leadership of their teachers and coach Bushem,” Azusa Unified Superintendent Dr. Linda Kaminski said. “Our mission at Azusa Unified is to provide every educational resource to ensure our students are college- and career-ready.”

Lydick was the Azusa’s biggest winner, garnering six medals; a gold for math, a silver for interview and a bronze each for essay and music. Additionally, Lydick earned a gold medal for top scorer and a silver medal for top in division.

Other medal winners were:

  • Gonzalez, bronze medal for interview
  • Esslin, three bronze medals for economics, interview and speech
  • Santos, two silver medals for language & literature and music, and
  • Gomez, two silver medals for language & literature and interview

Bushem, who has taught world languages at Azusa High for four years, was proud of the achievements the Academic Decathlon team earned.

“I have been coaching the Academic Decathlon team for three years and have loved getting to know the fine young adults who have been a part of it,” Bushem said. “We are like family!”

The Academic Decathlon was held on Jan. 30 and Feb. 6 at El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera. Academic Decathlon teams consist of up to nine members divided into three groups for three separate categories – honors, scholastic and varsity – of three students apiece.

The students then compete against their peers in ten subject events: art, economics, essay, interview, language and literature, math, music, science, social science and speech, with scores tabulated by a panel of judges.

“The medals are a result of the hard work and long hours the students spent in preparation for the main competition,” Board of Education President Yolanda Rodriguez-Peña said. “The skills and knowledge they gained while in Academic Decathlon will help them to achieve their future educational goals.”


ACADECA1: Azusa High School’s Academic Decathlon team wins 14 individual metals competing against 45 L.A. County schools. The Academic Decathlon was held on Jan. 30 and Feb. 6 at El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera.