GARDEN GROVE, March 23– “Welcome to the 2013 Orange County Academic Pentathlon!” the coordinator’s voice boomed from the podium. His welcome was greeted with waves of enthusiastic screams from approximately 2,000 middle school students who flooded the gymnasium at Bolsa Grande High School. Young scholars from over 200 teams had gathered to compete in the annual Academic Pentathlon, a five-event competition founded in 1984 to encourage academic excellence among middle school students.

The Super Quiz, which focused on Chemistry this year, began promptly at 10:30. Amidst the determined and excited atmosphere, the Varsity, Scholastic, and Honors students competed in three separate rounds of competition with questions projected on a large screen. Individuals who achieved correct answers happily waved yellow Yahoo! signs.

After lunch with teammates and coaches, the students reported to their testing rooms. The first test was the Essay, where students were given three prompts from the literature selection and Social Science topic. Immediately afterwards, proctors distributed the Literature test, an exam based on the poem “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” grammar and vocabulary, and this year’s novel Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis. During Break, students were free to munch on snacks, discuss test questions, and relax in the warm afternoon air.

At 2:30, all pupils were required to enter the testing rooms again. The questions on the Mathematics exam were asked in a problem-solving format that tested students’ understanding of Number Theory, Algebra, Geometry, and Probability. The proctors next administered the Social Science Test, based on this year’s topic Civil War and Reconstruction, which required extensive knowledge of the differences between the North and the South, challenges to slavery, battles of the Civil War, and important personalities in the war. Finally, the enthusiastic competitors worked to complete their last test, Science.

By late afternoon, the 2013 Academic Pentathlon had concluded, but the deep camaraderie among team members and dogged endeavor for excellence will continue.

The Awards Ceremony will be held on April 24, 2013 in Santa Ana, California.

Article written by Annie Chang.