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All Four Frisco ISD High Schools to Compete in State Finals for Academic Decathlon (January, 2007)

Frisco high school Academic Decathlon teams continue their march of excellence this year with all four teams, Frisco, Centennial, Liberty and Wakeland High Schools qualifying to compete in San Antonio in February for the state title.
Frisco High School and Centennial High School rank at 1st and 3rd place respectively among the state’s medium size schools going into state competition. The two teams competed January 20 at Lancaster for regional competition, with FHS finishing at 44,317 points (1st at Regionals) and Centennial at 43,508 (2nd at Regionals). In overall state regional rankings only Friendswood, which has won the state championship 16 times, sits at the number two spot between the two FISD schools. Last year, Centennial took second place at state finals and FHS took fifth, marking the first time two schools from the same district were in the top five together. The only other high school with a higher score than FHS is Plano Senior High, a 5A school in the large schools category.

In the small schools class, both of FISD’s new high schools that opened this year, Liberty and Wakeland, also performed at an outstanding level. Liberty took first place at the small school regional competition in Sugar Land with 33,451 points and Wakeland took second with 32,442. In state rankings going into state competition, Taylor High School is the first-place qualifier with a score of 37,924.

Academic Decathlon teams begin their study in the spring and work all summer prior to the start of next school year. This year’s area of study was China and students had to become versed in Chinese music, history, art, math, and social sciences. To compete in Language and Literature they read the novel The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. The students also studied economics, history and climatology. Most of the tests are timed and multiple choice examinations done on forms to be run through a computer. But Academic Decathlon students also compete in interview and speech and Super Quiz, an oral quiz competition.
     
Each academic team is made up of three A students, three B students and three C students, with an alternate for each group. Academic Decathlon is recognized for being one of the few academic contests that allows students who have C averages to compete with each other.

The coaches for the four academic teams are excited and are already working to prepare their teams for the state championship. The winner can be determined over just a few points and by one or two questions, according to Centennial Coach Jeffrey Wolford, who praised his entire team for their performance at regionals and noted that Norm Qi, “captured seven silvers and six gold medals on his way to medaling in every possible way except one and achieved the highest score in the region – and quite possibly the State,” Wolford said.

Frisco High Coach Scott Greenwood sent an excited email out Tuesday when he got confirmation that all four schools would be competing at the state level and that their points ranked them highly in the state going into the competition. He echoed the sentiments of the academic decathlon teams and coaches across the district in sharing the good news of the students’ successes.

Superintendent Rick Reedy offered his congratulations to all four teams.

“When both high schools were in the top five last year at state, we were so excited for them and the district. For all four high schools (two opening this year) to be ranked so highly going into the state competition is phenomenal and is a testament to the commitment of the students and their teachers. The competition is grueling and everyone should be commended for their outstanding effort,” he said.

Liberty High coach Dr. Derek McDowell couldn’t have been more proud of his team.  “Our roster, consisting of 6 sophomores and 2 freshmen, was one short and matched up against other teams of mostly seniors.  For us to come away as Regional Champions is an outstanding accomplishment!”  

Wakeland High School coach Cone was equally proud and is looking forward to the state competition. The work and preparation for the state competion, to be held in San Antonio February 23-25, will be intense and rigorous, but these FISD students are up for the challenge! Individual school results can be found on the Frisco ISD website at www.friscoisd.org.