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Saturday, June 15, 2024 at 12:39 PM

Taylor AcDec places third in nation

Taylor AcDec places third in nation

Taylor High School’s Academic Decathlon Team represented the state of Texas in the United States Academic Decathlon Competition held in Pittsburgh April 25-27, returning home with the third-place national ranking and a bronze medal from the competition.

This success at the national level comes after winning the state championship in February.

“So many factors are important to the success of an AcDec team, and we had the balance, the brains, the camaraderie, and the perseverance to win it all for the community of Taylor,” said Vicki Rowe, AcDec coach. “It didn’t stop there because we went on to Pittsburgh to nationals and had to maintain studying for almost two more months. The Bronze at nationals capped off an incredible season, and I cannot thank the team enough for their dedication to make it all possible.” In addition to winning top awards at regional, state and national competitions, scholars also enjoyed learning many new things along the way and experiencing the journey together.

“I love last year’s team, and I still do,” Jaden Rush said. “But getting to go through a very similar experience with a different group of people, it tacked on another little family. It’s a really fun experience, and you’re not just friends, you are genuinely family.”

For Alexandra Rebollar-Cruz, some of the best parts of the season were the little extras.

“Winning was nice, especially at state, but the best part of the whole experience was the bits and pieces in between,” Rebollar-Cruz said.

“Things like going to the beach and being together at lunch when we would study at Mrs. Rowe’s house, or taking a break and playing basketball. I think that is really what made the year. Not just the winning, but everything that led up to winning.”

Scholars said the trip to Pittsburgh provided a few additional learning opportunities about local traditions as well. For example, they could not find tacos anywhere, and no one said, “Y’all.” Instead, they heard locals say, “Yins,” meaning you and your kin. For two of the teammates, this trip provided their first airplane experience.

“I had never gone somewhere that far away from Texas before, and even on a plane for the first time ever,” Nathan Basche said. “Going to Pittsburgh and competing and how big on the scale we were compared to everyone else was very different for me.”

“I thought it was fun taking off and getting into the air,” Ravis Kennedy said about his first plane ride. “But the landing wasn’t so much fun.

Kennedy also commented on an important factor to the team’s success, getting things done in a timely manner.

“The most important thing is to not procrastinate,” Kennedy said. “As soon as you get the curriculum, or whatever it is you want to do, or as soon as you get the information you need, study it and make sure that you understand it because that is what can hold you back from greatness if you take too long to get focused.”

Rose Simons emphasized the importance of goals to reaching success.

“I would say that to achieve your goals you have to aways keep in mind that they are your goals,” Simons said. “Keep them in your focus and keep people around you to keep you accountable for those goals and that focus. Part of the reason I studied so hard was knowing that I had teammates who were also studying as hard and that they wanted to do well. So, keep yourself in good company.”

Rowe credits a sense of community for the team’s outstanding year.

“It has been a great year to be an AcDec Duck,” Rowe said.


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