While their team name, the Acaduckies, and their bright neon yellow sweatshirts with a duck emblazoned on the front, may bring a smile to your face, Milken’s Academic Decathlon Team is no joke. They came out strong, winning their division in their inaugural season competing in the Southern California Private and Charter School Academic Decathlon, which wrapped up on February 2. Competing against five other teams, the Acaduckies collected 49 medals and 2 trophies. Drew Weisserman ’19 was the team’s highest scorer as well as the top scorer in the division. The Acaduckies were also crowned Super Quiz champions. The game show-style team event was the competition finale and held before a live audience.
“We were all in awe of the accomplishment of this team and made history for this regional competition to be the first school to win their division in their inaugural season,” said their coach, Upper School Counselor Max Greenberg.
The Decathlon was made up of 10 subjects, which included multiple choice exams in Music, Math, Literature, Art, Science, Economics and Social Science, and an Essay, Speech, and Interview portion. The subject content was focused on the theme: The 1960s: A Transformational Decade.
The team prepared relentlessly for the rigorous competition by playing Quizlet Live — a collaborative learning game, presenting on art pieces, and learning economics and mathematics concepts from Weisserman and Team Captain Sam Renard ’19. Renard noted that she consulted with the head of the SoCal Academic Decathlon Regional Division, who helped them prepare for the essay writing portions.
Renard and Aaron Kermani ’21 started the team and recruited members by explaining that it was not only a great learning experience, but it was a way to start something new at Milken. She praised the members on their growth, and describes the team as “some of the most dedicated people I’ve ever had the pleasure of learning with and teaching.”’
Only the top two teams from all five divisions advance to the state competition, so the team’s season has come to a close. But it has been an exciting and rewarding season for the Acaduckies and they hope to build upon this year’s success. Renard encourages anyone who is interested in participating to contact her.
“None of us went in expecting to win anything —we were there for the experience,” said Renard. “I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud to be a part of anything — and I know everyone on our team agrees.”
Congratulations to our decathletes: Sam Renard ’19, Drew Weisserman ’19, Andre Lebecki ’20, Emilie Badener ’20, Aaron Kermani ’21, Amelia Marengo ’21, Ryan Boxer ’22, Brandon Friedrich ’22, and Ethan Hoffman ’22.