Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary Students Fare Well in Academic Decathlon

Anne Donofrio-Holter
March 26, 2014 • 305 views

Competing for their second time in the Southern California Private Schools Academic Decathlon, Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary (CSHM) students have much to be proud of, winning 46 individual and team medals, 16 of them gold.
“CSHM entered two teams and both did exceptionally well,” said Academic Decathlon coach Edgar Salmingo.  “Team 1 won third place overall in Division 3 and Team 2 won the Division 4 title.”
With 45 teams and almost 500 students participating, this was the largest private schools Academic Decathlon to date.
“After our success last year, we had a huge turnout of students who wanted to participate,” said Salmingo.  “Even though Academic Decathlon meant summer homework every day, loss of free time and an additional class, we still had 23 students sign up.”
“It was one of the craziest, most intense events I’ve ever participated in and was an absolutely amazing experience,” said senior Briana Mercuri.  “It was one of the best decisions I’ve made.  I was able to learn a lot about subjects that I had never taken an interest in before and make many new friends.”
“I had never experienced anything like it and thought it would be a good challenge,” said senior Mia Vasquez.  “The experience was a great one and helped me realize what hard work could do not only for an individual, but also for a team.”
“I cannot be any more proud of the students.  They worked so hard for their school and for each other,” said Salmingo.  “They never made any excuses even though the tests were extremely difficult.”
Students are tested in ten events that require knowledge in many academic disciplines including art, economics, language and literature, math, music, science and social science.  Usually science or social science is chosen for the Super Quiz.  There are also three subjective events, essay, interview and speech, that are graded by judges.  The theme of this year’s event was World War I.
“I developed a sense of determination, dedication, and hope in myself.  It was the highlight of my whole high school experience,” said senior Luis Rivera.  “Being the only male competing for CSHM this year, hopefully I will inspire others to join next year’s team.”
“I am always looking for something different and new to try, so joining the Academic Decathlon team seemed like the perfect challenge,” said senior Krystal Serna.  “This new experience made me appreciate other talents and hobbies that are usually not recognized.”
“As a school, Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary takes pride in the accomplishments of its students,” said Principal David Chambers.  “This showing represents years of combined educational support provided by all our teachers.  Many thanks go out to them for preparing our students for success.”
“For a team to win first place means every member had to put in the work and try their best.  And this group of special students did just that,” said Salmingo.  “To accomplish such an achievement in only our second year of competition is both humbling and inspirational.  The students deserve all the credit.”
Congratulations to individual medal winners Mia Cornejo (Silver-Interview), Alejandra Duran (Gold-Art, Science, Social Science/Bronze-Math), Emily Lopez (Bronze-Speech), Nayeli Alonso (Gold-Economics/Bronze-Science), Hailey Gonzales (Gold-Economics/Silver-Speech/Bronze-Science), Aimee Gonzalez (Bronze-Art), Gisselle Perez (Gold-Interview/Silver-Speech), Luis Rivera (Gold-Music), Natalie Sanchez (Gold-Art/Bronze-Math), Polina Vandysheva (Silver-Art, Music/Bronze-Language, Literature, Economics, Speech).
The Southern California Private School Academic Decathlon is a recognized participant under the California Academic Decathlon and the United States Academic Decathlon Program.

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