In March, junior high students from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Tujunga represented themselves well at the Los Angeles Archdiocese Academic Junior High Decathlon (AJHD). Held at the California State University-Long Beach Walter Pyramid, the AJHD was attended by thousands of spectators who came to watch 106 Catholic schools and more than 1,000 students test their academic ability in the Logic Quiz and the Super Quiz, as well as individual tests that included knowledge testing of religion, literature, science and current events, among others. Awards were given for individual and team performance. The day-long event included an opening ceremony, afternoon Mass and a concluding award ceremony.
Goals of the AJHD include promoting academic excellence, encouraging a collaborative spirit and cooperative learning skills, and celebrating the diversity, excellence, and tradition of Catholic schools. Led by head coach Steve Morin, the 2016 OLL academic decathlon main team consisted of 10 students: Elise Bauer (English), Annie Burns (Fine Arts), Ashley Cann (Social Studies), Marigrace Carrasco (Super Quiz co-captain), Katie Dinh (Math), Jaydan Fill (Religion), Nathan Finney (Science), Maria Guinnip (Literature), Veronica Hunstable (Logic co-captain) and Allyson McCullagh (Current Events). The OLL decathlon team also consisted of study buddies, usually sixth grade students, who attended practices and put forth great effort in learning the material and supporting the main team. They are Frankie Allen,Nathan Castillo, Amelia DeGuzman, Nebonid Dooman, Matthew Gaon, Aidan Heaney, Justin Huitink, Ashley Lineses, Jake Miller, Andrew Pierson and Robert Rigoroso.
The OLL decathlon team earned 20th place overall (out of 106 teams), and received medals in several individual subject tests: fourth place in science, ninth place in religion, 10th place in English, and 10th place in fine arts.
“I am so proud of this amazing team who began working back in July meeting on Saturdays,” said coach Morin. “They continued on through the school year meeting every Friday after school and working through many lunch periods. Towards the end the team met three times a week. I would like to extend a huge thank you to our moms and dads who volunteered to coach the students and to organize all of our materials and meeting logistics. I have been coaching in the decathlon since it began and I have never seen such an intense level of competition as we faced this year. Our team showed great character on the day of the event and I know that they will all continue to excel in everything they do in high school and college.”