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Manual Arts High Wins First Bilingual Decathlon

July 21, 1998

Manual Arts High School beat out 35 other high schools to win the Los Angeles Unified School District's first English/Spanish decathlon, a district spokesman announced.

Each team was composed of four bilingual students, two native English speakers and two native Spanish speakers, said Ricardo Velasquez, a deputy to school board member Jeff Horton.

The purpose was to "show that ESL [English as a Second Language] students bring a whole store of knowledge that is being neglected in the furor over English test scores," Velasquez said.

The Manual Arts team members--Victor Mendoza, Christian Herrera, Juanita Perez and Liliana Perez--won $1,000 each in scholarships and nine computers for their school, Horton said. The second-, third- and fourth-place teams also won scholarship money and computer systems.

The teams began competing monthly in January and the contest was aired by KWHY-TV (Channel 22) in a format similar to "Jeopardy." The questions, categories and rules were developed by Horton's office and KWHY provided the scholarships.

The questions were asked in either English or Spanish from nine categories: U.S. government and citizenship, geography of the Americas, Shakespeare, history, the solar system, science, literature in the Americas, art and culture, and mathematics.

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