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The Cat's Eye

The Cat's Eye

The Cat's Eye

AcaDec goes to state
Team Purple from RCHS AcaDec went to the state competition. Photo courtesy Michelle Zhang,

At the 2023-24 California Academic Decathlon state championships, Rancho Cucamonga High School scored in the state’s top 20 schools and took home several awards. 

Junior Robert Erickson scored bronze in the essay category. Photo courtesy Michelle Zhang,

Honors decathlete junior Robert Erickson scored bronze in essay, and earned the highest score for RCHS’s “Team Purple.” Team Purple is the name AcaDec adviser and English teacher Ms. Elysa Martineau gave the team that competed at state. AcaDec has two teams: JV and varsity. The varsity team competed in state. 

Scholastic decathlete Emily Calvillo, senior, scored silver in essay.

Varsity decathlete Jael Renfro, senior, scored silver in social science and gold in speech with a perfect 1,000/1,000 score. The California Academic Decathlon invited Renfro to film and submit their speech to have it featured on the organization’s official YouTube speech showcase. 

In the competition, decathletes competed on ten distinct subjects. There are seven textbook topics, called “objectives” (math, economics, science, social science, art, literature, and music), and three topics that are performed in front of and scored by judges, called “subjectives” (speech, interview, and essay).

Each topic is scored out of 1,000 points and added up to give each decathlete a total score out of 10,000. With nine decathletes on each team, the total team score is out of 90,000.

Senior Jael Renfro writes on scratch paper during arena testing. Photo courtesy Michelle Zhang,

After months of hard work and dedication, Team Purple learned on Feb. 18 that they were going to state.

“Yes, so, funny thing is we actually thought we hadn’t made it,” said Martineau. “We were told that we didn’t make it to state, so we were really upset about that, especially since we have gone every year since 2012, and some of my kids discovered that our scores were higher than a lot of the schools that were going to state… So I emailed the state director and he that we were supposed to go to state.”

The nine members on varsity left on March 21, arriving at the airport at 5:00 a.m.

“For the whole year, I had been looking forward to going up to state, and yet somehow, it still exceeded my expectations,” said Erickson.

Many people felt both excited and nervous about the state AcaDec competition.

“I was so excited, especially to put it on my college application, and couldn’t wait to go!” said senior Rebecca Zin. “I got a bit stressed with having to study way more though!”

The team arrived later that same day at the Santa Clara Hotel and got settled in for the night. On Friday, March 22, the team tested on objectives, and on Saturday, they did subjectives.

“State competitions were definitely enjoyable; it felt like a whole month had been consolidated into three days. I got along with all my team members, and overall had a lot of fun,” Renfro said. 

On Sunday, March 24, the awards ceremony was held. The teams were given their awards and the top school in California was announced, El Camino Real Charter High School. 

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About the Contributor
Rayna Reyes
Rayna Reyes, Staff Reporter
Rayna Reyes is a senior at RCHS, this is her first year in journalism. Reyes is a staff reporter and has joined journalism because of her love for writing, whether it is short stories, or even poetry. When Reyes isn’t working on writing, she can often be found singing, or watching her favorite shows.

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