Woodbridge High School team takes first in division at California Academic Decathlon


Woodbridge High School has taken first place in Division 2 of the 35th annual California Academic Decathlon.

A total of 565 students representing 65 schools competed in the state contest, which was held March 21 and March 22 in Sacramento. Woodbridge finished 13th overall, besting all other Orange County teams in addition to its Division 2 counterparts.

“All of our team members performed very well, achieved personal goals, and contributed to the team’s success,” said English teacher Shan Wu, who coordinated the Warriors along with retired science teacher Mike Nakaue. “The team has been preparing since last June, and their championship is a testament to the sacrifice, diligence and maturity of this great group of kids. They definitely deserve every award and accolade they’ve earned.”

Academic Decathlons are 10-event scholastic contests staged at the county, state and national levels, and the rules are pretty consistent. Nine-member teams battle for the highest scores on multiple-choice exams, speeches, interviews and essay assignments.

Each squad must include three “Honor” students (those with GPAs of 3.75 or above), three “Scholastic” students (GPAs of 3.00 to 3.74) and three “Varsity” students (GPAs of 2.99 or below). The competition culminates with the lightning-quick Super Quiz Relay, which is held in front of a live audience. Woodbridge placed third in its division in this event.

El Camino Real Charter High School won this year’s Division 1 state title, and Granada Hills Charter High took second overall. Both schools now head to the 33rd annual U.S. Academic Decathlon to represent California, which has produced the last 11 national champions.

And that should give you an idea of how tough the competition is at the state level.

This year’s Woodbridge team, pictured above, comprises junior captain Divya Prajapati, sophomore Hee Jin Koo, senior Joanne Kim, junior Gabriela Olmedo, senior Victoria Ozuna, sophomore Jessup Kim, senior Tahlil Islam and senior Henry Ammermann. Here’s a breakdown of some of their individual honors:

  • Divja placed first in the division and her GPA category in literature, second in music and third in the essay category. She also had the highest cumulative score on the Woodbridge team.
  • Joanne placed second in the division and her GPA category in art.
  • Gabriela placed third in the division and her GPA category in music.
  • Victoria placed first in the division and her GPA category in the interview portion.
  • Jessup placed third in the division and his GPA category in music and first in art.
  • Tahlil placed third in the division and her GPA category in science.
  • And Henry placed first in the division and his GPA category in math.