SYSK: North Tama Academic Decathlon - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

SYSK: North Tama Academic Decathlon


One, two, three, four. That's how many small school, Iowa State Academic Decathlon titles North Tama High School has won during the last five years.

"We just read packets, talk about the info and highlight info we think may be important or show up on tests," said Kevin Darrow.

Kevin Darrow took over as the coach five years ago. He was already familiar with Academic Decathlon.

"I was a participant way back in 1992. This is one of the activities that fostered me wanting to become a teacher," he said.

Darrow said he wasn't the smartest student, but that's what's great about AD.

Nine students compete in three different divisions: Varsity for students with a grade point below 3.0; Scholastic for grade points 3.0 to 3.75 and Honors for students with above a 3.75 GPA.

The competition includes multiple choice, an essay and a speech.

The top two scorers for each division are counted in the team score.

"It teaches us not only studying skills, but we learn to do speeches and essays which we're gonna need to know to really reach our academic potential," said senior Lillian Howard.

These guide books are how the students prepare.

The books are around a thousand pages. Anything in there is fair game for a test.

"We're expected to study on our own for anything we don't understand or want to know more about," said Howard.

The books cover ten subjects focused on one common theme. This year it's the Great Depression.

As a group, the students get together three times a week for about 12 hours total.

"The kids are eager to learn and willing to work harder than ever," said Kevin Darrow.

This year, North Tama earned the second highest score in the state competition.

Cedar Rapids Jefferson was tops.

But the competition season isn't over yet. The students are still cracking the books prepping for the online national competition.

North Tama will compete against about 17 other small schools from across the country beginning April 12th.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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