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Department of History Hosts Illinois State Championship of Academic Decathlon

UIC Academic Decathlon Judges

Whitney Young takes the crown and heads to nationals as UIC judges applaud

     On Saturday, March 2, the UIC Department of History hosted more than 100 high school students from eleven Illinois high schools for the state championships of the Academic Decathlon.  More than fifty UIC volunteers made the event possible, mostly from the Department of History's History Club, History majors, the Teaching of History program, and History graduate students.  Department Chair Kevin M. Schultz served as the day's emcee.  A few faculty took part in judging as well, and Department Senior Business Manager Tom Kernan made sure everything ran smoothly.
     After ten events during a day that began at 7:30 a.m., state championship honors went to Whitney Young Magnet High School, which will represent Illinois at the United States Academic Decathlon National Competition in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from April 25–27, 2024.  Second place went to Lane Tech College Prep and third place went to Amundsen High School.  Lane Tech College Prep will represent Illinois as the Division IV team in Pennsylvania and Amundsen High School will go as the Division V team at Nationals.  The national championships are perhaps most widely remembered for its cameo in the Spiderman movie, where Peter Parker traveled with Zendaya to Washington, D.C. before destroying the Washington Monument.  There were no similar casualties at UIC.
     Academic Decathlon, the premiere national scholastic competition for high school students, was created 58 years ago to provide opportunities for students to experience the challenges of rigorous team and individual academic competition.  Each student competes in ten events: Art, Economics, Essay, Interview, Literature, Math, Music, Science, Social Science, and Speech.  Students also compete in the Super Quiz, a quiz-show event that was emceed by Department Chair Kevin M. Schultz.  A unique aspect of Academic Decathlon is that it is designed to include students from all academic ability and achievements. Each nine-member team consists of three Honor students (3.80 – 4.00 GPA), three Scholastic students (3.20 – 3.799 GPA) and three Varsity students (0.00 – 3.199 GPA).  Each team member competes in all ten events.  Gold, silver, and bronze medals are awarded for individual events and overall scores.
     This year’s theme was Technology and Humanity.  Next year’s topic is Our Changing Climate.
     The high school competitors were given a tour of campus by UIC's remarkable student ambassadors.  They were treated to dinner in the UIC dining hall.
     This year, all judges got Department of History t-shirts and a free lunch for their efforts.  The t-shirts were particularly popular.

Photos from the event Heading link