Teams spar for academic excellence

LILBURN - Teams from Berkmar, Mill Creek, Parkview and Winder-Barrow high schools are competing today and Saturday in the 22nd annual Georgia Academic Decathlon.

Berkmar's team was the district's Academic Decathlon winner. Mill Creek and Parkview advanced to the state competition in wild card slots, because they were among the highest scoring teams in the state that did not win the district competition.

The annual competition, sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators Foundation, features 10 academic events. Many of the events have questions that focus on this year's curriculum topic, the Civil War.

In preparing for the Academic Decathlon, students are "exposed to a great deal of information ... about an intensive theme," said Cary Sell, the state director of the competition. "They get what is essentially a college-level curriculum."

Students are tested in seven content areas: economics, art, language and literature, mathematics, science, music and the written Super Quiz. Participants also gain points individually in three communication areas: public speaking, a personal interview and a written essay.

The Super Quiz Oral Relay, a quiz bowl that is open to the public, is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday in Berkmar High School's auditorium.

The competition is unique because the students who participate aren't just the "best of the best," Sell said. Each team is required to have at least two students in each following categories: honors (for students with A averages), scholastic (for students with B averages) and varsity (for students with C averages).

"Many students who may not be as successful as they should be in the classroom find their success (in the Decathlon)," Sell said.