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Board recognizes Lathrop Highs team
Manteca Unified Trustee Deborah Romero presents a certificate of recognition to Lathrop High academic decathlon coach Michael Pangburn, left. At right is gold medalist in science Charles Garcia. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

Lathrop High School teacher Michael Pangburn brought his new kids on the academic block to the Manteca Unified Board of Trustees meeting earlier this week.

They were there to be recognized for their outstanding performance at the 32nd annual San Joaquin County Academic Decathlon. A relatively newcomer to the cerebral competition, the Spartan team headed by Pangburn as the head coach and Hillary Beshears as assistant coach emerged as the third-place winner among the Top Three Small Schools in the Top Overall Teams division.

Joining Pangburn in the spotlight at the Tuesday board meeting were five of the students who comprised this year’s decathlon team. This is only the second year Lathrop High has joined in the competition.

Besides the overall honors, nine students also garnered individual medals in their respective subject specialties: Charles Garcia in science (gold), Precious de los Reyes, also in science (silver), Amber Alonzo in music (gold), April Joy Concepcion in speech (gold), Gurpreeet Atwal, also in speech (gold), Cameran Gazaway in speech (gold) and in music (silver), Jennifer Leam in language arts (gold), Albert Hoang in speech (gold), and Michael Weber in science, division 2 (gold). Hoang was an alternate member of the team.

Presenting the certificate of appreciation to the winning Spartan decathlon team was Trustee Deborah Romero.

The academic decathlon competitions were held on Jan. 23 and Feb 2.

Manteca High School, for the second year in a row, won second place among the top three large schools. The Buffalo team was also judged first in the Super Quiz Team. Individual achievements went to Jasmine Patel, one of five students who each received $5,000 renewable scholarships from the University of the Pacific, as well as Carlos Medina and Vincent Carter who each received a $100 scholarship and a medal for being selected Top Overall Student.

Winning top honors, also for the second consecutive year, was Tracy High School.