Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School’s Academic Decathlon Team will represent the state of Georgia at the national competition for the tenth time. This year the team will compete in Anchorage, Alaska.

Academic Decathlon is a nationwide competition that involves acquiring knowledge of a specific area of study each year. Students compete in mathematics and economics, language and literature, science, and social science, which are centered around each year’s theme; and three subjective events: prepared speech, impromptu speech, and essay. This year’s theme is “In Sickness and in Health” with a science focus on cancer.

The rules of Academic Decathlon require that these students are not all A+ students. Students are divided equally into three categories: Honors division students have A averages, Scholastic division students have B averages, and Varsity division students have C averages or below.

LFO’s Decathlon team is a diverse group individually, which makes the road to success for them even more difficult. They participate, learn, and earn success despite many other extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, and economic and family hardships. One decathlete lost her mother tragically last year and now lives with a grandparent; three are the children of immigrants; several of them work part-time jobs in order to help their parents make ends meet at home. In addition to their all-too-adult responsibilities, one is a winner in state-level FFA competitions; two are taking extra college-level courses at Georgia Northwestern Technical College; one is a part of the first cohort of only 15 students county-wide who are enrolled in the mechatronics program; one is on the LFO wrestling team; one is a star on the soccer field and a state champion in the DECA Club; three volunteer through the National Honor Society; three have been finalists for the Georgia Governor’s Honors program; half of them are active in religious congregations; and all study their Decathlon materials on their own time after school and on weekends.

These students have proven time and again that they have the drive to overcome hardships and be successful. They are leaders on the field, in the gym, in the classroom, and in the school community. Their passion for learning and team-work has allowed them to find a family with each other, and the work ethic they have cultivated will follow them throughout their lives, through college and career, and will eventually be invested in this community. These are the kinds of young people who grow into community leaders who make a positive difference in people’s lives.

This talented group of students desperately needs and truly deserves financial support from their community. Without donors and fund-raising, these amazing students cannot hope to attend their national competition. Despite a number of fund-raising campaigns, the team is still short of its goals to pay for lodging and airfare to the competition in Anchorage, Alaska. Your donations are much deserved and much appreciated.

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