Academic Decathlon works to host state competition

By working together to overcome various challenges, the Souderton academic decathlon team is able to host the state competition later this year. The team hopes to compete at states again this season.


Arrowhead Photo by Will Stover

Acadec Extravaganza…Preparing for the next performance, senior Ty Platow takes a practice test. The team came in second place at their first competition on November 13.

In preparation to host the state competition, the Souderton academic decathlon team is working around abnormalities with the upcoming season as well as adapting from their online season last year.    

After winning states last year, the academic decathlon team is set up for another successful season.

 “We’re hoping for a really strong season this year. Maybe we’ll even have a chance to win states again,” senior Joe DePolo said. 

This year, the theme of the competition is “Water.” 

“The theme this year will be one to remember to say the least,” Senior Ty Platow said. “I’m not quite sure how to feel about the theme. It’s unique.”

Unfortunately, the team was unable to attend in person competitions last year due to COVID-19. This season, the team is “hoping to get back into the full experience,” academic decathlon coach Phillip Cerami said. 

“Last year was interesting because all of the competitions were online,” senior Jude Kane said. “This year is completely new to most people on the team.”

According to Cerami, most members of the team have not experienced an in person competition before. 

“The team is made up of mostly upperclassmen,” Cerami said, “so there are only one or two people who have had the opportunity to compete face to face with other schools.” 

DePolo believes that many members of the team are disappointed that they do not get to travel for states. 

“It’s quite unfortunate that states is being held here at Souderton,” DePolo said. “As exciting as it is to compete on our home ground, it would have been cool to travel.”

According to Cerami, a lot goes into preparing for states. This includes setup, materials and providing a memorable and beneficial experience to each of the other schools who attend the competition. 

“It sounds like a lot but, at the end of the day, “acadec” is what I wake up for,” Cerami said. “It’s what I love to do and what I hope I will be doing for a long time.”

In order to achieve their success, not only in competitions, but also in planning major events like this, the team focuses primarily on their relationships with their teammates.

 “I feel like I’m really close with the team. We’re like a big family,” DePolo said. “We work together really well which should help us with planning states.” 

The Academic Decathlon is split up into 10 subjects: Art, economics, essay, interview, speech, literature, music, science, math and social science.  

“Most students will see high scores in some subjects and lower scores in others,” Kane said, “but you’ll occasionally find someone who is just strong all around.” 

Kane hopes that the combination of strength in specific areas as well as well rounded students will bring the team success this season.

According to DePolo, his performance is fairly well rounded. “Of course I see higher scores in some categories from time to time, but I think I am able to stay consistent with high scores,” DePolo said.