Academic decathlon learn their way to state


Learn. Study. Compete. Repeat. 

That’s what Kennedy High School’s academic decathlon team did in order to prepare for the season.  

“We study on Sunday’s and Thursday’s during S.M.A.R.T lunch tutorials,” said Mike Ciabatti, jr.  

Academic decathlon competitions are divided into three different sectors; regionals, state, and nationals.  

The students compete in three groups based on their grade point averages (a, b, and c). They compete in many different categories such as music, art, social studies, science, math, economics, speech, writing, language and interview skills. 

Kennedy fell to Jefferson and Iowa City West High School during regionals, taking home third place overall.  

But all of their hard work and dedication did paid off. The team will compete March 6 and 7 at the State competition. 

The decathlon team is coached by Deb Snook, a former advanced placement calculations teacher at Kennedy High School. 

“This is the twenty-second year Cedar Rapids Kennedy High School has had an Academic Decathlon Team and the twenty-second year they have gone to State,” Snook said. 

There are many different parts to an academic decathlon competition. There is speech, interview, essay, and tests. Each school tries to answer as many questions correctly as they can which gains them points needed in order to win. 

“I like the academic decathlon because it gives me a chance to learn about things I don’t usually get to,” said Ciabatti, jr. 

 Kennedy High School’s team is made up of 12 students; eight seniors, three juniors, and one sophomore: Tianyi Han, sr., Abhinya Gunasekar, sr., Abby Hellweg, sr., Jacob Hofer, sr., Jacob Aspinall, sr., Joshua Lyman, sr., Brian, Feld, sr., Coleton Whitmore, sr., Linden Runels, jr., Austin Wu, jr., Michael Ciabatti, jr., and Claire Jackson, so.,  

Many of the students involved in the academic decathlon are also involved in many extra-curricular activities as well such as sports, clubs, and after school jobs.