Earlier this month, Mountain Pointe High School’s Academic Decathlon team snagged third place in a tough regional competition against more than 20 other high schools.

The school’s 17 decathletes each received individual medals at the Fourth Regional Competition Feb. 1-2, said coach and Mountain Pointe teacher K.R. Scott.

Now headed to state competitions at Arizona State University’s West Campus March 8-9, the students will be continuing in their extensive studying about all things Russia.

“The sheer volume and depth of knowledge they need to know, it just stuns me every year,” said Scott. “The fact that they can put 14 hours a week into this on top of their already full school schedule, that to me is what inspires and amazes me.”

For each scrimmage, regional or state competition, academic decathlon teams are responsible for understanding a variety of topics within the main theme each year. With studying Russia, students will learn about the country’s music, art, politics, environment and history, among other things.

“By the time the year is over with, they will have a comprehensive knowledge of Russia as someone in college,” Scott said.

Noting that he thinks Academic Decathlon is one of the “best programs for college preparation,” Scott said the students’ studying element “goes beyond mere memorization or basic understanding, to how it all relates.”

Competition also tests teams in seven areas, and require written essays along with prepared and impromptu speeches on topics.

In Mountain Pointe’s 20 years of Academic Decathlon, Scott said his time teaching and coaching the team has produced not only top-five ranking results nearly every year, but also a sense of camaraderie.

“I like the interaction with the kids, as an old soldier, I’ve always had that connection with my troops,” added Scott. “It’s the same kind of connection with my students.”

Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dmartinez@ahwatukee.com. Follow on Twitter: @_dianamartinez.

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