The AJHD Mission
As Catholic school educators, we affirm that each young person entrusted to our care has been endowed by God with marvelous intellectual gifts and talents. The California Catholic Schools Academic Junior High Decathlon (or AJHD) strives to bring forth some of those academic talents and celebrate them in the context of spirit-filled competition. The five goals of the Decathlon are:
- to promote academic excellence
- to promote collaborative spirit and cooperative learning skills
- to promote logical and higher order thinking
- to recognize the contributions of parents, teachers, school administrators, and business and community members in supporting high standards for all students; and
- to celebrate the diversity, excellence, and tradition of Catholic schools
The Catholic Schools Academic Decathlon was founded in September, 1989 by Dr. Mark Ryan who was then a junior high teacher at St. Aloysius School in south-central Los Angeles. Dr. Ryan had a vision for an academic event to parallel the athletic competitions so prevalent in schools. What began as a tiny competition involving a handful of schools from the greater Los Angeles area has grown to become a statewide event involving Catholic junior high students from across the United States. The Decathlon is now under the guiding jurisdiction of the California Catholic State Superintendents Curriculum Committee.
What is the Decathlon?
The Academic Junior High Decathlon is a competition for students in grades 6-8. There are ten events. Two are collaborative team efforts – a logic quiz with 20 rigorous thinking problems, and a super quiz with 50 multiple choice questions on five broad academic themes. The remaining eight events test individual knowledge of the Roman Catholic doctrine, English, Literature, Science, Mathematics, Current Events, Social Studies, and Fine Arts (Art and Music). Awards are given for individual and team performance, and the winning school team from each geographic diocese competes in a state championship the first Saturday of May each year.