The Catholic Schools Academic Decathlon was founded in September, 1989 by Dr. Mark Ryan who was then a junior high teacher at St. Aloysius school in South Central Los Angeles. Dr. Ryan had a vision for an academic event to parallel the athletic competitions so prevalent in schools. What began as a tiny competition involving a handful of schools from the greater Los Angeles area has grown to become a statewide event involving Catholic junior high students from across the untied States. The decathlon is now the the guiding jurisdiction of the California catholic state superintendents curriculum committee.
What is the Decathlon?
The academic junior high decathlon is a competition for students in grades 6-8. There are ten events. Two are collaborative team efforts- a logic quiz with 20 rigorous thinking problems, and a super quiz with 50 multiple choice questions on five broad academic themes. The remaining eight events test individual knowledge of the Roman Catholic doctrine, English, Literature, Science, Mathematics, Current Events, Social Studies, and Fine Arts (Art and Music)
The five goals of the Decathlon are:
- to promote academic excellence
- to promote collaborative spirit and cooperative learning skills
- to promote logical and higher order thinking
- to recognize the contributions of parents, teachers, school administrators, and business and community members in supporting high standards for all students
- to celebrate the diversity, excellence, and tradition of Catholic Schools