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The academic decathlon or Aca Deca is available for the curious, self-motivated student who is up for challenges, enjoys problem solving, and seeks the opportunity to develop excellent study and collaboration skills. This weekly class run by a cadre of tireless volunteers and open to 6th, 7th and 8th graders leads to a diocesan-wide competition every March. Up to twenty-six separate schools have participated and the diocesan winner goes on to the state championship.
There are ten events. Two are collaborative team efforts – a logic quiz with 20 rigorous thinking problems, and a super quiz with 50 multiple choice questions on five broad academic themes. The logic and super quiz events take place in a large open room with teams occupying separate tables. Logic is a quiet collaborative event whereas the Super Quiz event is live and consists of 50 multiple choice questions on five separate topics. These questions are read aloud by a proctor and responses are registered on lifted team cards. An air of quiet excitement permeates this element of the decathlon.
The remaining eight events test individual knowledge of the Roman Catholic doctrine, English, Literature, Science, Mathematics, Current Events, Social Studies, and Fine Arts (Art and Music). Awards are given for individual and team performance, and the winning school team from each diocese competes in a state championship.
The goals of the Decathlon are:
- to promote academic excellence
- to develop a collaborative spirit and cooperative learning skills
- to nurture logical and higher order thinking and
- to celebrate the diversity, excellence, and tradition of Catholic schools
Holy Spirit School has competed in the Northern California diocesan decathlon since its inception in 1999 and the team has medaled in 14 of their 20 appearances going to the state championship seven times. This tradition is a hallmark of our school culture.