The Academic Decathlon team at Oak Hill High School in Wales placed first in Maine this month, qualifying them for the national competition in Frisco, Texas, in April. From left are Sutton Sloan, Sebastian Doyle, Sarah Rossignol, Ella Martin, Aspen Gauthier, Julia Lachance, Faith Perrier, Fiona McDonough, Nhi Nguyen, Josh Bonner, Destiney Samare and Nathan Chadburn. Submitted photo

WALES — For the second straight year, Oak Hill High School’s Academic Decathlon team won the Maine state competition, qualifying students for the National Finals in April.

Students learned about topics in art, economics, language and literature, math, music, science and social science throughout the year because the program is a class and an after-school activity at Oak Hill.

All 12 members of the team completed all 10 events, which includes academic tests, speeches, an essay and an interview.

The competition is inclusive of students of various academic abilities. Teams are required to include a specific number of A, B and C average students, based on their grade point average.

This year’s theme was the American Revolution.

“It’s a way for kids who are self-motivated to really become stronger students and college ready, and really become more confident as people and as students,” Oak Hill Academic Decathlon coach Derek Anderson said. “Kids who are in college now, they’ll often tell me they really felt like it prepared them a lot better than maybe other things they did.”


The program encourages students to strengthen their public speaking and critical thinking skills, he said.

Last year, Oak Hill won the state championship for the first time in the program’s history, which Anderson said dates back to at least the 1990s. Students competed in the National Finals last year, however the competition was held remotely due to the pandemic.

The state championship took place at Monmouth Academy on March 18. Students from last year’s team were especially motivated to win this year because it is the first year the National Finals will be in-person since 2020, Anderson said.

Students are working to fundraise for National Finals in Frisco, Texas, from April 26-30. The trip is estimated to cost $13,000 total, Anderson said.

A GoFundMe for the team shows that nearly $4,000 has been raised in the past four days, however, Anderson said the team has already raised about $8,000 in total.

Oak Hill is part of Regional School Unit 4, which includes students from Litchfield, Sabattus and Wales.

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