Granada Hills Charter Captures 2021 U.S. Academic Decathlon Title for 8th Victory

GRANADA HILLS, Calif., May 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Granada Hills Charter (GHC) captured its eighth United States Academic Decathlon championship. …

GRANADA HILLS, Calif., May 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Granada Hills Charter (GHC) captured its eighth United States Academic Decathlon championship.


«Keeping the sense of connection among our students was top priority.»

The team scored 52,656.7 points out of a possible 60,0000 to claim the title. The coaches and decathletes are available for Zoom or phone interviews by calling (323) 309-4241 or emailing

«Like last year, this competition was a big shift for everyone involved,» said team coach Alina Lee. «It was important to focus on maintaining our momentum without our normal face-to-face interactions. Our program is built on teamwork and accountability so keeping the sense of connection among our students was a top priority. I am really impressed how well everyone responded, and I’m very excited for our team.»

This year’s winning team of students is Dwaipayan Chanda, Eunice Choi, Joshua Choi, Rachel Heo (alternate), Chloe Hyun, Aroa Kim (alternate), Justin Kim, Hirusha Liyanage, Anthony Mercado (alternate), Jasdeep Sidhu, and Zorex Villadelgado, Jr. The coaches are Alina Lee, Linda Kang and Amy Contreras.

The theme of this year’s Academic Decathlon season was «The Cold War,» requiring students to study subjects within that context. Students compete in seven subject areas including science, literature, art, music, social science, economics and mathematics. Topics included the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union, music from the era and a focus on Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. The competition includes multiple-choice exams in each subject, as well as essays, interviews and speeches.

As part of the competition, each school enters a field of students from the following GPA categories, – «A» students (honors), – «B» students (scholastic), and – «C or below» (varsity). GHC decathletes placed in the top three highest individual scores in all categories: Jasdeep Sidhu (1st overall honors) and Dwaipayan Chanda (3rd overall honors); Zorex Villadelgado, Jr. (1st overall scholastic) and Hirusha Liyanage (2nd overall scholastic); and Joshua Choi (1st overall varsity) and Justin Kim (2nd overall varsity).

«I know everyone on the team worked very hard under extremely trying conditions to prepare for the competitions, so we all are excited for their success,» said Brian Bauer, Executive Director of Granada Hills Charter. «In a normal year, the unexpected challenges of Academic Decathlon go beyond learning about the topics and honing skills for the 10 different events. There are challenges of making time for all the preparations, of staying focused and determined and facing odds that can feel daunting. This year’s team again demonstrated the perseverance needed to compete at such a high level, and they deserve this victory.»

Next year’s competition will focus on a topic very familiar to Californians: water. The science subject will focus on marine biology and the art area will look into watercolor painting and water as a subject of art.

«I’m always amazed by how much the students learn and how dedicated our coaches are,» Bauer said. «I’m sure all the students will take what they’ve learned with them as they go on to college or enter the workforce – or come back to finish their high school experience with us next year.»

About Granada Hills Charter: Granada Hills Charter, the largest charter school in the nation, is an independent public school in the San Fernando Valley. A fiscally independent conversion charter school, Granada Hills Charter has a current student enrollment of more than 5,400 in grades transitional kindergarten through 12. Both programs, TK-8 and 9-12, have a combined annual student wait list of nearly 4,000. The School’s student population is one of the most diverse, with more than 40 languages other than English spoken at home and over 60 nationalities represented. Nearly 50 percent of students are eligible for the National School Breakfast and Lunch Program. As a 501c3 non-profit benefit corporation, the School’s Governing Board is the legal entity overseeing all school policy and its $68 million operating budget. A 2021 California Distinguished School, GHC is also ranked «#1 Best Public Elementary School in California,» «#1 Best Charter Middle School in California» and «#1 Best Charter High School in Los Angeles County» by in the 2021 Best Schools rankings.



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