Kim Goes to Acadec Nationals

Clara Chin , Staff Writer

Some students complain about studying for a couple of hours, but West High School’s Academic Decathlon team devotes five hours to studying everyday. They meet as a team and learn new material through comprehensive activities.

Their diligence and enthusiasm for studying this year earned their way to the 36th Annual California Academic Decathlon, placing 24th overall (higher than all of the South Bay Schools). One member, Molly Kim (11), was one of the 15 competitors at the tournament to qualify for the National Academic Decathlon Competition. This is the first time West High School Acadec will be sending a delegate to the national competition.

“Molly Kim did a great job and it was really nice to see her succeed,” said fellow teammate, Tiara Kaimal (11). “She was really motivated, and when you’re motivated, anything is possible.”

She scored 9031.7 out of 10000 possible points, and tied for first place in Art, one of the seven competition categories. The average score per member, according to Kaimal, is usually about 7000-8000.

Not only did Kim perform with high scores at the state competition, but she also motivated and inspired the team. Humza Saddiqi (12) is the official Academic Decathlon captain for West High School, and Kim teamed up with him to bring the team to success.

“Molly Kim really stepped up and really assumed a leadership role. Without a leadership role, we wouldn’t have done as well as we did,” said Ms. Cortina, West High Acadec adviser. “Molly and Humza really strategized with each other and made decisions based on everybody’s strengths and weaknesses. They also worked individually with students.”

For the next couple of weeks, Academic Decathlon will be taking a break from their long hours of studying; then, they will start studying next year’s topic—India. Kim, however, will be prepping for the National Competition.

“She’s just been studying a lot and going over each topic. It’s the same thing she’s been doing all year, but with a lot more depth and focus,” said Cortina.

In addition to studying the topics, Kim has also been practicing her speech and interview, two additional components of the competition. She is delivering her speech for staff members and teachers at West High School, who offer her feedback to help perfect her performance.

Molly Kim said, “I’m really excited and nervous for nationals, but I hope to do my best and enjoy the experience.”


If you are interested in joining Academic Decathlon, see Ms. Cortina or any of the current Acadec members.