The first academic decathlon to be held at a California community college was hosted by the Associated Students of GCC (ASGCC) at the Student Center on Nov. 18.
Academic decathlons exist at both the high school and university levels, but there has never been anything similar at the community college level.
ASGCC President David Arakelyan, who was instrumental in putting this event together, said, “I am honored to have the first community college Academic Decathlon held on this very campus.”
An academic decathlon is a fast-paced competition similar to a quiz game show that tests the academic knowledge of participants in rounds of increasingly difficult questions.
The competing teams of five people each, represented clubs on campus. Seated at round tables with a buzzer in the center, teams scrambled to be the first to respond to questions, which appeared on a big screen via Power Point. Arakelyan read each question aloud.
Each correct response earned the teams five points. The questions were composed by the ASGCC and reviewed by Arakelyan.
The competition was organized into four elimination rounds. Seven teams competed in the first round: Alpha Gamma Sigma, the Cinema Club, The Fantastic Five, the Japanese Club, the Pre-Med Club, the Scholars Program, and the Theatre Guild.
At the end of the round, the four top teams won the right to compete in the third round. These were the Theatre Guild, the Japanese Club, the Scholars, and the Cinema Club.
The Armenian Student Association (ASA), the Honors Biology Club, the Organization of Latinos for Higher Education (OLHE), the Philippine Cultural Organization (PCO), Speech and Debate, the Student Team, and the United Cultural Council (UCC) competed in round two.
During the entire round, Speech and Debate made it clear that they wanted to win. Club president Robert Cannon said, “I am just excited to be here with my club as a team.”
The four final teams with the most points moved on to compete in round three. This included Speech and Debate, at the lead; PCO; Honors Biology; and the Student Club.
In the third round, the eight winning teams answered 40 questions. The Speech and Debate group took the lead again during this round with 40 points. The other winners, ranked according to score, were the Theatre Guild, Scholars and Student Club teams, and the PCO.
Before the final round began, Arakelyan spoke about the community college initiative.
“We need 500,000 signatures [on] the ballot for spring 2007. The initiative will lower our class unit [fees] to $15 each. All signatures must be signed by those 18 years or over, California residents only, and they must be registered to vote,” said Arekelyan.
“Also, every signature provided by a club will get one dollar per signature. I think that this can be a great opportunity to fund-raise for your club,” he added.
Going into the final round, the Theatre Guild and the Speech and Debate Club were tied in the lead.
The Scholars, the PCO and the Student team were tied at 10 points each at the end of the final round. One elimination question broke the tie.
PCO won third place, and the team members received medals and a plaque. Theatre Guild won second place, and also receiving a plaque and medals.
The first place award went home with the Speech and Debate Club, who scored a total of 60 points. Team members Sarah Black, Cannon (president), Alex Kang, Dianna Platero and Tracy Reed all won one hundred dollars each. They also received medals, a plaque, and a giant trophy.
The Speech and Debate Club also will get $500 deposited into their campus club account. A total of $1,000 was awarded to the club.
“Our club has a very competitive team. I guess that is why we have been pounding the buzzer in the previous rounds. A lot of these clubs have never been in a competition, [while] we are used to it,” said Cannon.
“The ASGCC academic decathlon was such a success. I enjoyed it very much and the students and people who helped organize it had a lot of fun as well,” said Arekelyan.
“The clubs enjoyed being a part of this. We plan to have a bigger decathlon and more clubs competing in it for Spring 2007.”
For more information regarding this event or future academic decathlons, contact Arakelyan at (818) 240-1000, ext. 5602.