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Dandy Dozen - Oakdale Decathletes Capture Crown
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The Oakdale High School Aca Deca team brought home their 12th consecutive championship and a slew of medals from the 2012 Stanislaus County Academic Decathlon on Feb. 4. From left, Top Alternate Emily Clayton, Overall Varsity High Points Thomas Dempsey, Overall Honors High Points and High Point Team Champion Paul Perrone, and Overall Scholastic High Points Jarrod Colvin. - photo by Dawn M. Henley/The Leader

The winner of the Stanislaus County Academic Decathlon is Oakdale High School.
And again. And again…
Two days of rigorous testing, interviews, and speeches resulted in the 12th consecutive championship for the OHS team, garnering 43,993.7 points, at the county’s 32nd Annual Academic Decathlon on Feb. 3 and 4 at Gregori High School, Modesto.
“It’s a ‘dozen of dominance’… it was all worth it,” exclaimed competing team member Paul Perrone.
OHS beat the second place team, Ceres, by more than 11,000 points. Ceres and third place Denair were separated by only about 800 points. As usual, OHS won the Super Quiz portion of the event, too.
Perrone collected medals in every category. He also captured the most individual points overall, making him the team champion as well as the overall high points honors squad member with 8,423.2 points.
“I’m glad I was able to measure up to the standards of some of my role models (from prior Aca Deca teams),” he said.
Teammate Jarrod Colvin collected the overall high points scholastic squad member award with 7,379.8 points.
“I was an alternate last year and I think I got three medals,” Colvin recalled. “Going from that to this… It’s a huge difference for me. It’s just such a thrill when you see your name up there.”
Fellow competing team member Thomas Dempsey took the overall high points varsity squad member award with 6,608.6 points. He also garnered medals in every category.
“I didn’t actually believe it could feel this good because it was stressful,” said Dempsey after the contest and awards ceremony.
Alternate team member Emily Clayton won the Top Alternate award for earning the most points of all alternates who competed at the event with 5,055.7 points.
The OHS team was under a lot of pressure going into the competition, having so many consecutive wins under its belt, but they said they were prepared.
“It was a tremendous amount of work but the feeling is absolutely surreal when you get up in front of the crowd cheering,” said competing team member Robert Winders.
After the competition, coach Linda Dodge admitted that she was breathing easier.
“I’m relieved. It being my first year coaching, of course I was a little nervous,” she said. “…but they’re the ones who do the work. They’re awesome… I’m speechless (about 12 wins). I just hope we can continue to excel every year.”
OHS had a competing team of nine students, including honors members Perrone, Winders, and Madison Lane; scholastic members Colvin, Nathan Van Ryn, and Adam Jensen; and varsity members Dempsey, Thomas Roberts, and Connie Speer. OHS also sent a number of alternates, bringing the total OHS contingent to 31 competitors.
“I’m very proud of them,” Dodge said. “They worked very hard and it shows. They’re a great bunch of kids to work with and I’m privileged to be their coach.”
OHS competed against Beyer, Central Catholic, Central Valley, Ceres, Davis, Denair, Enochs, Gregori, Keyes Charter, Modesto, and Valley Charter high schools. Each school sent a competing team of nine members and sent as many alternates as they chose.
OHS now moves on to represent Stanislaus County at the California Academic Decathlon State Finals, March 15 through 18 in Sacramento.
See the Feb. 15 issue of The Leader for more complete coverage on how OHS students placed at the Academic Decathlon.