Imagine having just a few short months to learn everything you can about one topic so you can answer even the most detailed questions.
Questions like: How many items are in a grocery store?
The answer is 47,000, Brian Webb’s Academic Decathlon students at Clear Creek High School said without hesitation.
But that’s not all they have to know.
Each student is responsible for learning everything about one overarching topic, while focusing on one more generalized field. This year’s overarching topic is World War II.
So, that means some students are focused on the economic aspects of World War II while others are learning about the arts and music related to it.
This year, the academic decathlon students at Clear Creek High School, Clear Springs High School and Clear Lake High School have been working to learn everything they can about World War II, which is this year’s overarching topic for competition.
AcDec includes students from all academic backgrounds. The participants compete in two speeches, an interview, essay, written comprehensive exams and the Super Quiz, which is a collaborative contest where teams answer multiple choice questions.
Their knowledge has already proven impressive after outstanding performances at the regional level. Now, the three Clear Creek ISD teams will head to one of the most rigorous academic competitions in Texas February 23-26 in El Paso.
When it comes to music, Academic Decathlon students are memorizing the sounds of different composers while also being able to recall facts and answer questions like: “This composer left Hungary based on what?”
Students focusing on art have to be able to identify different artists visually while also remembering details of each specific piece.
In the region of large schools, Clear Lake High School is currently ranked 7th, Clear Springs High School is ranked 22nd and Clear Creek High School is ranked 35th out of the 40 high schools.
Clear Lake High School’s score of 45,452.6 was just over 2,000 points shy of the top James E. Taylor from Katy ISD’s 47905.6 leading score.
Each team has its own way of preparing for competition, which includes learning more than 1,000 pages of content.
For the Clear Creek High School team, reading the curriculum, taking mock tests and learning from their mistakes each round has proven to be effective.
“The more you read, the better off you are,” Webb said.
But because each student is different in how they learn and retain information, each learns a little bit differently, said Donna Berner, Clear Springs’ coach.
Besides winning, there is one common goal in mind: to learn as many facts as possible and to be personable, she said.
All three Clear Creek ISD teams are optimistic their hard work has paid off and are looking forward to participating in the state competition.
“The students are so excited about this opportunity,” Berner said. “Every year we have to be better because we come from such a competitive region – we hope this is our year!”