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12 high schools to compete in 31st academic decathlon
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Nearly 400 students from a dozen high schools in San Joaquin County will be vying for various awards at the 31st annual Academic Decathlon competition.

Among the competitors will be 22 students from Manteca High, 22 students from Lathrop High School, and nine students from Ripon High. Other schools competing are Delta Charter of New Jerusalem School District in Tracy, Escalon High, Tracy High and West High (also in Tracy), Edison, Lincoln, McNair, Middle College, and Stockton Early College Academy. Guest teams this year are from Gilroy Early College Academy and Mountain View High from Santa Clara County.

The theme of this year’s competition is The Age of Empire.

The Manteca High School team placed third in the academic decathlon last year. First place went to Tracy High, with the second-place award going to the team from Lodi High.

Up for grabs are cash awards and other prizes. The winning team will go on to the State Academic Decathlon Championship to be held in Sacramento on March 15-18 with the San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) Educational Foundation paying for their competition fees. Other awards include a $5,000 renewable tuition scholarship to the University of the Pacific and $2,400 from the SJCOE Educational Foundation, according to the county Office of Education.

Additionally, the top overall scorer will be awarded $1,000 from the Schools Credit Union and the SJCOE Education Foundation in honor of Walt Rathhaus. Medals and plaques also will be presented to the deserving contestants.

The competition will consist of two event dates. The first one will be essay, interview and speech competitions to be held at the University of the Pacific on Saturday, Jan. 28. This event will not be open to the public.

The second day of the competition is set for Saturday, Feb. 4, which will comprise of two events. The first one, which is also closed to the public, will be objective tests in art, economics, language/literature, math, music, social science, and a written Super Quiz to be held also at UOP. The second event that day will be held in the afternoon at the Scottish Rite Auditorium located at 33 West Alpine in Stockton. The first part of the afternoon program will be a Super Quiz starting at 2 p.m. followed by the awards ceremony at 3:20 p.m.