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sha-academic-decathlonREDLANDS—A group of 11 junior high students from Sacred Heart Academy in Redlands will match wits from their peers from around the country in a virtual Academic Decathlon this Saturday, March 13.

The Redlands Catholic school has had quite a run of success in the local Academic Decathlon competition, winning three of the past four local decathlons. Last Saturday, thanks to a first place finish in the Super Quiz portion of the decathlon and a second place finish in the Logic Quiz portion,  SHA emerged as one of the overall winners in a statewide decathlon competition that included 109 schools.

For all its recent victories, the school has never had the experience of competing at the national level.

“I am really proud of where we have gotten up to this point,” says Sacred Heart Academy eighth grader Adryane Dantic. “We study hard and play hard, which is why I am forever grateful for this opportunity of going to Nationals as a TEAM.”

Joining the Sacred Heart team in the national decathlon will be Catholic school students from around the Diocese who placed first in the individual competitions of the local Decathlon. They are Ana Sophia Ramirez from Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Riverside (Current Events), Lianna Pasimio from Sacred Heart School in Rancho Cucamonga (English), Andrew Cabanig               Sacred Heart School in Palm Desert (Fine Arts), Luke Phalen from St. Edward School in Corona (Literature), Ethan Agustin from Sacred Heart School in Rancho Cucamonga (Math), Gianna Depakakibo from Sacred Heart Academy (Religion), Lyle Dela Luna from Sacred Heart School in Palm Desert (Science), and Jeanna Marie Lotz from Sacred Heart Academy (Social Studies).

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic this year’s academic decathlon competitions have been held via Zoom and the Google Classroom. Some teams have gathered at their schools for the competitions while others have elected to have students compete, individually from home. Darla Directo, fifth grade teacher at SHA and one of the Academic Decathlon coaches, praised school parents for their role in making the new format work.

“Parents went above and beyond to create a positive safe environment while cheering on their decathlete,” said Directo. “Through the help of God and the Holy Spirit, memories and life skills have been gained which are priceless.”