EL MONTE – Rosemead High School’s Academic Decathlon team members surpassed their own expectations after a stunning fourth-place finish at the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) Academic Decathlon in February, propelling the nine-student team to advance to the California State Championship March 23-24 in Sacramento.

In its first year as an LACOE Division I school, Rosemead recorded the highest AcaDeca team score in El Monte Union history. Three students won individual gold medals while team members netted 40 medals overall, including a third-place finish in Super Quiz. Arroyo High School also competed, finishing second among Division III schools.

The Academic Decathlon consists of three levels based on a student’s GPA: “A” for honors, “B” for varsity and “C” for scholastic. Decathletes take 30-minute multiple choice tests in seven subjects, participate in an interview, give prepared and impromptu speeches, and write an essay. On the final day, all students take part in the Super Quiz.

Rosemead senior Serena Estrada was the top scorer for the team, winning gold medals for the honors essay and top decathlete score, along with three silver medals and two bronze medals. Junior Carlos Lopez won a gold medal for the varsity speech and senior Madi Razo won a gold for the varsity interview.

Lopez, who is considering a career in education, loves the camaraderie of the team and relishes the opportunity to honor his parents, dedicating his AcaDeca prepared speech to his mother.

“At the beginning of the year we were all strangers and we had to learn to tolerate each other,” Lopez said. “But now we are very close friends, and never hesitate to offer advice and encouragement. I like the challenge of Academic Decathlon. Life is hard, but the harder you work, the bigger the rewards.”

Rosemead’s Academic Decathlon team received medals at a banquet held at the Quiet Cannon Country Club in Montebello on Feb. 8. El Monte Union will fund the team’s trip to Sacramento.

“Every year, Rosemead greatly anticipates the Academic Decathlon, where our high-achieving students are eager to demonstrate their diversity and talent,” Rosemead Principal Dr. Brian Bristol said. “Congratulations to Eric Burgess and our Panther AcaDeca students for raising the bar and elevating our pride to a new level. I wish them the best of luck in Sacramento.”

The Rosemead High School Academic Decathlon medal winners are:

· Serena Estrada – gold (essay, top decathlete score), silver (economics, interview, speech), bronze (literature, super quiz)
· Andres Angelo – silver (speech), bronze (essay, super quiz)
· Allison Nguyen-Thai – silver (speech, essay), bronze (super quiz)

· Madi Razo – gold (interview), silver (essay, speech), bronze (super quiz)
· Carlos Lopez – gold (speech), bronze (literature), bronze (super quiz)
· Neo Torres – silver (essay), bronze (speech), bronze (super quiz)

· Sean Thai – silver (essay), bronze (super quiz)
· Henry Tran – bronze (speech), bronze (super quiz)
· Tricia Yong – silver (speech, essay, interview), bronze (super quiz)