CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A Coastal Bend High school again is celebrating wins at the Academic Decathlon state meet.
Richard King High school’s academic decathlon team has a legacy when it comes to competing.
“In the last 22 years we have won regional 21 times,” said Jane Johnson, the school's academic decathlon coach.
The academic decathlon has ten different categories. Three are subjective, speech, interview and essay. Seven are written tests.
At the regional meet in January the team took first place and in February placed third at the state meet in Frisco. That effort earned each member of the team a $300 scholarship.
“Seeing the success of all of these students is that they have put this as a priority in their world of school especially this virtual year,” Johnson said.
Social studies department chair Cynthia Jones said the King team overcame challenges this year practicing on Zoom, like working on facial and verbal cues.
“We kind of had to change the way we did things, especially with speech and interviews and those components in the past that have been done in person,” said Jones, King's Social Studies department chair.
Practicing during the pandemic provided team members with unique opportunities.
“This year I could see myself and nitpick all the little imperfections and perfect my speech as much as I could,” said King senior Melissa Esparza.
“I think at the very least we were able to succeed because we were able to go back to what I think is the bread and butter of our team success which is cooperation,” said Aiden Alanmanou, a King senior.
Alanmanou said since joining the academic decathlon he has improved his speech, interview, and study skills.
“I think this is probably the best organization that you can join to improve these sorts of skills while also being a little bit fun,” he said.
Johnson said it’s that dedication and time spent practicing that has built on King's foundation as an academic decathlon power over the past couple of decades.