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Sources: Carla Jones, 785-532-6432,;
and Karen Low, 785-532-6434,
News release prepared by: Nathan Harms,

Friday, Jan. 23, 2009


MANHATTAN -- The Kansas Academic Decathlon will be Friday, Jan. 30, and Saturday, Jan. 31, at Kansas State University.

K-State's chapter of Mortar Board, the national senior honor society, will be host of the event at the K-State Student Union.

Student teams from 14 high schools across Kansas and one team from Missouri will compete in the decathlon, which tests intellectual strength. Each team has between nine to 12 members who are selected from three different academic levels: three honors students with grade point averages of 3.75 to 4.0; three scholastic students with grade point averages of 3.0 to 3.74; and three varsity students with grade point averages of 2.0 to 2.99.

Teams are tested in art, economics, mathematics, music, social sciences, and language and literature. The students also write essays, participate in interviews and deliver prepared speeches. The decathlon features a super quiz, in which teams earn points for correctly answering questions in a head-to-head competition. The subjects covered in the decathlon are part of a study guide used by teams from across the nation.

Points earned by individual team members are combined for a total team score. The winning team will represent Kansas at the 2009 U.S. Academic Decathlon, April 22-25, in Memphis, Tenn.

High schools scheduled to compete at this year's Kansas Academic Decathlon include: Bonner Springs High School: Independence High School; Bishop Ward High School, Kansas City, Kan.; University Academy Charter School, Kansas City, Mo.; Olathe East and Olathe Northwest high schools, both in Olathe; Blue Valley North, Blue Valley Northwest, Blue Valley West, Shawnee Mission North, Shawnee Mission South and Shawnee Mission West high schools, all in Overland Park; Shawnee Mission East High School, Prairie Village; Shawnee Mission Northwest High School, Shawnee; and Washburn Rural High School, Topeka.

K-State Mortar Board members Jessica Heath, senior in family studies and human services, Manhattan, and Rebecca Bush, senior in history, Pratt, are the academic decathlon co-chairs for Mortar Board.

The state director of the Kansas Academic Decathlon is Diane Hansen from the Shawnee Mission School District. The K-State meet directors are Carla Jones, assistant vice president for student life, and Karen Low, assistant director of the office of student life.