Westover High takes school district to the state Academic Decathlon Competition

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Published: Jan. 29, 2022 at 10:20 AM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Westover High School swept the competition at the district-wide academic decathlon competition. Now the school is going to the state competition in Atlanta. WALB’s Nathalie Moreau was able to speak to the group’s club members and school sponsors about their experience.

“The academic decathlon team is very rigorous intellectually because of all of the knowledge that we have to learn from all aspects of academics,” Khalil Jackson, a 16-year-old junior.

“So, it was nice to experience the competition. While it was challenging, we pushed through, and we made something happen,” Braxton Sibley, a 17-year-old senior.

Westover students from all grades came together to put in the time and effort to win the gold.

“Very. It’s time-consuming because we also have to take practice home with us so we not only practice in school with each other, but we also go home and have to look over the material because it’s just so much,” said Jackson.

“It was pretty hard. I was sleepy, but we put in the effort to win, and we had a great time,” Demetrous Kendrick, a 15-year-old freshman.

The competition consists of three rounds of academic challenges to test their knowledge.

“They participate in a series of tests, and they score points based on how many answers and how many items they get correct,” Vanessa Johnson, a sponsor for the Academic Decathlon and Westover High English teacher.

The team prepared for the competition with their faculty sponsor Ms. Johnson, and she was able to teach them about more than just academics.

“In the age of COVID, we were careful to set aside practice time after school, with the kids and I know that a lot of the kids are very engaged in extracurricular activities, but we set aside a few days per week to practice with each other. To have a sense of normalcy and for kids to get to know each other,” said Ms. Johnson.

“It’s helped me in ways to join like, groups because I’m not really, I’m a pretty shy person. So it’s helped me get out there and join groups,” said Kyra Hutchins, a 15-year-old freshman.

Johnson hopes the community will support the students as they go out there and represent Albany in the state competition.

“It’s very important for the kids to receive the communities support. So the added mental support, the congratulations that go a long way. As an educator, I feel that it’s important to praise your kids when you know they are doing not only great things but even when they are doing mediocre things it’s important to praise your kids because it’s the motivation that they need,” said Johnson.

The statewide decathlon is set for February 25-26 in Atlanta.

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