Academic Decathlon

By Gisell Villagomez

Our school’s Academic Decathlon team did great during last year’s competitions but unfortunately, Ms. Tiscareno wasn’t able to keep the program going another year. At that point, we thought it would be the end of the Academic Decathlon. Luckily, Dr. Alamo decided to take on the program and keep the Academic Decathlon spirit alive.

At Huntington Park High School, Mr. Alfaro has been the administrator keeping the program alive throughout the years. As I spoke with Mr. Alfaro about Academic Decathlon, he made sure to mention the importance of Elisa Bustillos in the program since she has demonstrated to have extremely high potential. The potential Mr. Alfaro has in Academic Decathlon has been demonstrated through Elisa due to her amazing speech during last year’s competition which allowed her the opportunity to share her speech at the 2019 graduation.

Mr. Alfaro shared how Academic Decathlon allows the students to demonstrate how amazing the team and the school are and gain the recognition they deserve. He also believes that it permits the students to represent dignity and responsibility for all. Besides, Mr. Alfaro shared that he keeps the program going because he wants students to have the opportunity to be exposed to as many choices and be involved in what they wish.

Ms. Tiscareno was the teacher who has been in charge of Academic Decathlon since 2008. Ms.Tiscareno had her own goals but the main goal was for the students to have fun while learning. Although, she did share that winning did matter to her but being able to know that the students were learning about different topics, spending time with them and going to workshops and practices was the best time for her and her previous students. Ms.Tiscareno believes Academic Decathlon teaches students to speak confidently in front of crowds and become outspoken leaders.

As I spoke with Ms. Tiscareno, she informed me that the reason why she couldn’t keep going with the program was that she no longer has time to dedicate to the Decathlon and believes it’s time for someone else to take on the responsibility. She also shared how she gave birth to her first baby this year and wants to be able to dedicate time to her child.

During my research on the program, I was able to speak to Elisa Bustillos as well and receive her point of view on the topic. The first thing I noticed from Elisa was how passionate she is about Decathlon. Therefore, Elisa wants to be able to get rid of the stigma that has been set on the program about it being only for ‘smart’ kids which it’s not. As expressed by Elisa Decathlon is for everyone and brings students together and is an incentive to keep going in your academics.

According to Elisa the best part of the program is the finale of the competition because even though you don’t know the results just yet, you’re surrounded by your team with adrenaline, love, and happiness running through you and being able to feel that final accomplishment. Elisa wants the students to know that the program isn’t challenging as long as you demonstrate your dedication to the team. Elisa’s words of advice would be to just believe in yourself and what you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.

Therefore, we’re excited that Dr. Alamo decided to take on this huge responsibility and keep the program alive at our school. When I spoke with Dr. Alamo he informed me that he decided to take this responsibility to ensure that students with a passion for learning would have an outlet to challenge themselves. Dr. Alamo believes that his background will be able to assist him immensely with this year’s theme. He shared how he is looking forward to learning alongside his students and expects them to be ready to learn, ready to grow and ready to challenge themselves when they enter the classroom.

A few words of advice from Ms. Tiscareno to Dr.Alamo were to have patience and get to the competitions early because they do get very full and there is nowhere to sit. She acknowledged how Dr. Alamo is an amazing teacher with immense knowledge in history, art history, economics, and academic writing. She is sure he will be a great fit for the program and will do an amazing job.