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Schools Vie in State Academic Decathlon

March 18, 2000|ANNA GORMAN

Students from throughout California tapped their feet, bit their fingernails and furrowed their brows Friday morning as they waited to begin the first round of testing in the 21st annual California Academic Decathlon.

More than 400 students from 50 California high schools converged at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott for the two-day battle of the brains. The "acadeca" teams are vying for the title of state champion and the chance to compete in the national finals in San Antonio next month.

The competition is fierce. Moorpark High School won the national contest last year. El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills won it the year before.

This year, Simi Valley High School is ranked top in the nation, based on scores from countywide competitions. Los Angeles High School is not far behind.

"All our hard work is paying off," said El Camino's Dmitry Miroshnichenko, 17. "We think we have a good shot at nationals."

On Friday, students wrote essays and took exams in social science, science, math, music, literature, economics and art. The contest continues this morning, when team members give interviews and deliver speeches at Westchester High School.

This afternoon, the teams will travel to Loyola Marymount University, where they will answer multiple-choice questions in the most popular event, the Super Quiz. This year's theme is "The Sustainable Earth."

California's winner will be announced at an awards ceremony Sunday morning at the Airport Marriott.

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