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Decade Of Dominance
OHS Captures Aca Deca Crown
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OHS sophomore and alternate team member Stevie Cordoza, left, excitedly receives a medal during the Academic Decathlon awards ceremony from Mary Ann Sanders of the Education Foundation of Stanislaus County on Feb. 6. - photo by Dawn M. Henley/The Leader

It’s been a decade of championships, a decade of dominance.

It’s Oakdale High School’s time to bask in the spotlight once again, for the tenth consecutive year, for bringing home the championship trophy from the 30th Annual Stanislaus County Academic Decathlon. Oakdale holds the record for the most consecutive wins — the most wins, period — for the event in Stanislaus County.

OHS Aca Deca coach Lissa Jones said she felt relief when the competition was over, as there was a lot of pressure on the team this year.

“There’s something about getting this one,” she said of the win, adding that this was her first full year as the Aca Deca coach and that she is very connected to the team. “It’s great to see them so successful.”

The event was a two-day series of tests, speeches and interviews that took place Feb. 5-6 at Johansen High School in Modesto. A total of 270 students from 14 high schools participated in the competition.

Each donning jaunty berets, the OHS team gave a fashionable nod to this year’s Aca Deca theme topic, “The French Revolution.” Cheers constantly erupted from the Oakdale rooting section as OHS team members’ names were listed as medal winners. Some categories were completely swept by OHS alternate team members — a good sign for the future of the team. In total, the OHS team won 102 medals in the categories of Language and Literature, Economics, Math, Science, Music, Art, and the Super Quiz, as well as speeches and essays.

Along with the championship trophy, OHS also won the Super Quiz, with senior Todd Medema being the Individual High Point Honors champion as well as being the team high point champion, and senior Jesse Gelders was the Individual High Point Scholastic champion.

“I’m surprised and happy,” said a nearly speechless Medema at the event following the win. “Our team is really diverse, I’m so happy it all came together… We tried our best, I’m glad it was good enough.”

There are 44 members on the 2010 OHS Aca Deca team, with the nine competing team members being Honors squad members junior Kyle Ridenour, junior Daniel Dunning, and senior Todd Medema; Scholastic squad members sophomore Paul Perrone, junior Robby Anderson, and senior Jesse Gelders; and Varsity squad members senior Zachary Weber Reitz, senior Josh Lownsbery, and junior Erika Villa.

Coach Jones said prior to the competition that learning how to study while on the Aca Deca team helps the students with their future educational plans such as college. She said it creates coping skills, time management, and the kids learn how to be self-starters. They learn how to take in, comprehend, and produce material.

“These kids have a leg up on their peers,” she said regarding how to study.

She added that their dedication illustrates how amazing the students are and that it’s gratifying to work with teens who have good heads on their shoulders.

Jones also said that this year’s group has been very open to critique, they’ve heard and followed advice, and they aren’t ruled by their egos.

She reported that this year, the Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE) provided more money to high schools specifically for Aca Deca, which was a nice help in these economic times, even though there’s a supportive culture at OHS for Aca Deca. She said that for every team, SCOE lowered the team registration fee, provided $300 for curriculum, and additional money for outside training.

The 14 local high schools that participated in this year’s Aca Deca event included: Oakdale, Beyer, Central Catholic, Central Valley, Ceres, Davis, Denair, Downey, Enochs, Hughson, Johansen, Keyes Charter, Modesto, and Waterford.

Oakdale High School will represent Stanislaus County at the California Academic Decathlon State Finals, March 12 - 15, 2010 in Sacramento.

“It’s great. The kids did a great job,” said OHS Principal Mike Moore. “Lissa did a great job with these kids. I’m very proud of them, they’ll represent us very well (at the state contest).”

Detailed team results and additional photos will follow in the Feb. 17 issue of The Lead