Fairbanks, Alaska

February 28, 2012 by staff 

Fairbanks, Alaska, FAIRBANKS – Fairbanks teams are forces to be reckoned with when it comes to the GCI Alaska Academic Decathlon Competition.

This year, Lathrop High School won the competition in Anchorage, beating the reigning champs on the West Valley High School team. The two schools have battled back and forth for top honors for years. Lathrop held the title in 2010.

Academic decathlon competitors are scored based on their academic categories. Varsity students are those with C averages. Scholastic students are B students, and Honors students have A averages. Teams are composed of at least six students, with at least two from each academic category.

“Typically other academic competitions … the focus is on the A students,” Curtiss Clifton, state director with GCI, said. “We focus on your typical A, B and C students. It helps them become a better student, a better teammate.”

The teams compete in about 10 subjects, for the goal of being the state champion team.

On top of math, science, economics, language and literature, art and music, students are tested on their skills at essays, speech and interviews.

Clifton said some of the subjects help students prepare for the future.

He described the interview portion as a “gut-wrencher.” He said students had to walk into a room in front of four judges. They were asked a couple questions regarding their resumes and a few “mind-bending” questions that required a good argument and poise.

“It gives them practical experience when they go to give that job interview,” he said.

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