Students on Granada Hills High School’s academic decathlon team aren’t just smart. They’re historic.
The team won its third consecutive national championship title last week, becoming the first school to achieve the streak.
Nine students – eight girls, one boy – from the San Fernando Valley campus competed against 52 schools from across the country. They retained the school’s top spot over former title holder and rival El Camino Real Charter High School.
“It’s tough to do this even once,” said Mathew Arnold, academic decathlon coach. “To be able to do this three different times, is absolutely amazing.”
The training was grueling for these high school students, who worked 12-hour shifts during winter break to hone their skills.
Students battled in 10 areas including art, economics, essay, interview, language and literature, mathematics, music, science, social science and speech. This year's theme was Russia.
Senior Hamidah Mahmud has been on the team since they won their first championship in 2011. Mahmud was recently accepted to Harvard.
“I don’t think I would have gotten there without this team, without this group, without the motivation and confidence they’ve given me,” Mahmud said.
Her father is just glad the competition is over.
“Finally, she gets some rest before she goes to college,” he said.
Bea Dimaunaham competed this year for the first time.
“It was terrifying because I knew the school and parents, teachers and staff and everyone supported us so much,” she said. “To be honest, I didn’t want to disappoint them.”
The team also won its third consecutive California academic decathlon in March.