South Bay high schools won half of the top 10 team positions in the fifth annual Los Angeles County Academic Decathlon, in which 60 schools competed. Students from the area's schools also captured five out of the nine highest individual medals.
Two school districts, Palos Verdes Peninsula and Torrance, fielded the winners, who received their trophies with other top achievers at ceremonies Sunday in Montebello.
For the fifth consecutive year, Beverly Hills won the gold medal as the high school team with the highest scores. It will compete in the upcoming state Academic Decathlon.
Bronze for West High
West High in Torrance, which received a bronze team medal, was host of the competition Nov. 15. Students were tested in math, science, social studies, fine arts, language and literature, economics, interview techniques, essays and speech.
The 10th event was a "super quiz" in which contestants answered questions about the U.S. Constitution.
Each of the 60 schools entered two-member teams in three categories corresponding to the average grade level of the contestants. The categories were honors for A students, scholastic for B students and varsity for C students. Teams were ranked by a composite score.
"It's a wonderful occasion for positive recognition," said John Schmitt, West High's assistant principal. "There's a team spirit and everybody on campus shares in the pride of achievement."
Winners in the Los Angeles city schools decathlon will be announced Dec. 3.
The Academic Decathlon began in Orange County schools in 1968 and went nationwide in 1982 as part of a drive to improve academic performance.
The South Bay team winners were, from the Palos Verdes Peninsula district, Palos Verdes High in second place, Miraleste in fifth and Rolling Hills in sixth, and from the Torrance District, West High in third and South High in ninth.
In past competitions, the Torrance teams have consistently placed in the top 10, with West High winning the silver medal last year. Peninsula teams also have ranked high, but this year was the first to produce a medal winner and the first in which all three of the district's high schools took top-10 positions.
Individual winners in the three categories were Michael Mitzenmacher of Palos Verdes High, second place in honors; Marnie Friedman of Palos Verdes High, first place, and Alan Goldstein of Miraleste, second, in scholastic; Sean Butterworth of West High, first, and Daniel B. Landau of Rolling Hills, second, in varsity.