Students Revel In Joy Of Learning

Some 81 smart kids from nine schools will converge on Payson starting Friday for the Northern Arizona Regional Academic Decathlon.  Don’t miss the Super Quiz on Saturday.

Some 81 smart kids from nine schools will converge on Payson starting Friday for the Northern Arizona Regional Academic Decathlon. Don’t miss the Super Quiz on Saturday. Photo by Michele Nelson. |

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Wearing crazy hats and masks, trench coats and army gear, the Academic Decathlon kids will entertain onlookers while answering tough questions at their Super Quiz on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 1:45 p.m. in the Payson High School Auditorium.

The Super Quiz mimics a Jeopardy-type game with a buzzer, emcee and questions that twist the brain. The Academic Decathlon organizers hope the public will come to enjoy the antics and match wits.

This year, Payson hosts the Northern Arizona Region for an official Academic Decathlon competition.

Eighty-one students from nine schools will compete in the Super Quiz, a fun end to two days of interviews, speeches and multiple-choice questions on the topic of the year — World War I.

Academic Decathlon has a long history. Former Orange County California Superin­tendent Dr. Robert Peterson created the program while a Nazi prisoner-of-war. Peterson dreamed of a decathlon of studies.

Academic Decathlon is different from other academic challenges. With this group, not only do A students participate, but so do B and C students. Peterson believed each group could learn: The A students practiced social skills while the C students learned new study habits.

Each year the organization picks a topic and students study the history, economics, art, music, math and science of the era.

But Acadec, as the Payson kids call it, is mostly a fun-loving group, which comes out in full force during the Super Quiz.

As Peterson said to his constituents, “Our students can work hard and do have spunk and stamina. Competition in learning ... not only helps to achieve greatness, but maturity and self-fulfillment.”

It took a quarter of a century before Peterson realized his dream, but by 1982 the program had gone nationwide.

Come out on Saturday and help celebrate a tradition happening all over the nation, but don’t forget to dust off any WWI gear you may have.

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