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Academic Decathlon

Academic Decathlon is designed to include students from all achievement levels. Teams consist of nine members who are divided into three divisions based on a custom calculated grade point average. The GPA needed to place students into each division is the same for 2019-2020 as it has been for the past thirty years: Honors (3.75–4.00 GPA), Scholastic (3.00–3.74 GPA), and Varsity (0.00–2.99 GPA). For the next school year, these divisions will be different, as each cutoff grade has been slightly altered:  Honors (3.80—4.00), Scholastic (3.20-3.79), and Varsity (0.00-3.19).  The competition consists of seven objective multiple-choice tests, two subjective performance events (speech & interview), and an essay. The ten events require knowledge in art, economics, language and literature, math, music, science and social science. These topics, with the exception of math, are thematically linked each year. 

The overall curricular theme for 2019–2020 is In Sickness and in Health: An Exploration of Illness and Wellness. Following is some general information on the topics in each of the subject areas.

  • SCIENCE: The science topic is an introduction to the biology of cancer.
  • LITERATURE: The literature curriculum includes critical reading, one long work of literature, and selected shorter works. The long work of literature is the 1818 version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
  • ART: The art curriculum includes a section on art fundamentals and largely focuses on an exploration of illness and wellness in art.
  • MUSIC: The music curriculum introduces students to various musical works from across the centuries that allow them to examine the role of mortality in Western art music.
  • SOCIAL SCIENCE: The social science curriculum introduces students to the history of healthcare.
  • ECONOMICS: The economics curriculum covers fundamental economic concepts, microeconomics, and macroeconomics and also includes a thematic section on health economics.
  • MATHEMATICS: The mathematics curriculum covers algebra and trigonometry.

Each team member competes in all ten events against other students in his or her division, and team scores are calculated using the top two overall individual scores from each team in all three divisions. Gold, silver, and bronze medals are awarded for individual events and for overall scores. To earn a spot at the national competition in April, teams must advance through local, regional, and state competitions, though some levels of competition may be bypassed for smaller states. Online competitions, separated into small, medium, and large categories, are also offered. Not everyone is suited for the rigors inherent in Academic Decathlon.  Even though it is a collection of individuals who must test and compete in mainly individual events, the process of studying for competition is very much a group dynamic.  Not only is Academic Decathlon a class (at competitive schools) it is an extra-curricular activity in which students read, research and study seven different academic subject areas—written at a college level—that are all connected to a yearly theme.  Not only are students tested on their gained subject knowledge in these seven areas, they must be able to effectively articulate their knowledge through thoughtfully worded essays and during the interview process, as well as perform prepared (and impromptu) speeches that have been researched and memorized.  


The Seton Catholic Academic Decathlon Team competed at the Region IV Tournament at Red Mountain High School on January 31st & February 1st.  The Sentinels finished in 9th place out of 17 high schools with a team score of 33,200.6 points.  The Region IV Tournament was one of four tournaments that were being held simultaneously at different locations throughout the state; additionally, the Region IV tournament is the most competitively difficult tournament in the state, as several of the top schools in the state are in Region IV.  Seton Academic Decathlon Program team members:
The Seton team scored well enough to qualify for the State Tournament held on March 6th & 7th at Hamilton High School, where the top 40 schools in the state (Seton is seeded #20 going into the tournament) will be matching wits with each other for team and individual medals.
Honors Division
Adam Cesarano – Junior
Jarrod Hebert – Junior
Caleb Derr – Junior
Scholastic Division
Cara Self – Senior
Ann-Marie Kattan – Senior
Jameson Gorman – Senior
Cole Shapiro – Senior
Kyle Mendoza – Senior
Rylin Mazza – Junior
Individual medals were won by:
Adam Cesarano – Honors Division, Bronze Medal in Mathematics
Cole Shapiro – Varsity Division, Bronze Medal in Speech
Overall Top Team Scorer:  Cara Self


In 2018-2019, Seton finished as the #1 medium-sized school (3A) in the state for the 3rd year in a row.  Despite having an enrollment of under 600 students Seton was the 6th highest scoring school overall regardless of school size at the State Tournament (the other top ten schools have an average enrollment of over 2,700 students), breaking the elite 40,000-point barrier for the 2nd consecutive year.  This qualified Seton to represent the state of Arizona in the Online National Tournament for the third year in a row, where they finished 4th in the nation of all medium-sized schools.

2019-2020 SCHOOL YEAR

Seton Catholic qualified for this year's State Tournament with a score that was a few hundred points below our two closest 3A rivals, and entered the tournament as the 20th seed. Although our two 3A rivals improved their overall scores, we improved by more--2,700 points more--moving up to 18th overall (regardless of school size) and number 1 in 3A to claim our 4th 3A State Title in a row.
Our score improved enough for us to represent the state in the Online Competition as the top Medium-sized school in Arizona.
Kyle Mendoza won the Gold Medal for Interview in the Varsity division, while Jarrod Hebert won the Gold Medal for Speech in the Honors division. Jarrod was also awarded the Most Outstanding Speech Trophy for the entire competition.
Not too bad for a "down" year.
AcDec2   AcDec3