Seymour sends nine students to Academic Decathalon

By Rick Cohler
ACN & Times-Press
Nine of Seymour Community High School’s sharpest minds will compete at the State Academic Decathalon in Wisconsin Dells in March. The team is co-coached by Kellina Mattson and Christine Glover.
“Each year, students are given a topic to study,” Mattson explained. “This topic is broken down into seven sections: math, social sciences, literature, art, music, economics and science. The students are tested on these subjects during competitions. They also give speeches, are interviewed, and write an essay during regional and state competitions. The theme this year was Africa.”
Senior Seth Swenson is competing for the first time while Leah Piso, also a senior, is competing for the second time in the decathlon. Swenson said he joined because they needed contestants in his grade point average bracket. Piso said Seymour wasn’t able to have a full team of nine last year, but made an extra effort this year in order to compete in The Super Quiz. “It’s kind of like a big game of Jeopardy and if we don’t have all the people for that we don’t get the points,” Piso explained. The Super Quiz is open to the public and Piso said it gets pretty exciting.
The first round of competition consists of an online test, then regionals were held at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. “All those tests were on paper then you also had a scheduled interview and a speech,” Swenson said.
Piso said the regional contest is demanding. “We get bussed in real early and we have to dress nice,” she said. “We are separated into different classrooms based on your GPA bracket. It’s like taking the ACT but it’s all day.”
With Africa as the theme, Swenson said all the categories apply to the theme. “Economics has reference to African economy, social science is about African history, and so forth.
Contestants receive a binder filled with the information they need to compete. “It’s about four inches thick,” Piso said. “And there’s a CD of music, a booklet of art and a novel to read. There’s nothing that flies out of nowhere but that binder is so massive the odds of you getting through all of it before competing are slim.”
Swenson enjoys being with teammates, the speech and the interview are his favorite parts. “Those are more interactive and more fun than sitting down and taking a test for a half hour.”
Piso said it’s a lot of fun, but “there are some times where you have to put in some special effort with studying, working with teammates and coaches.”
Piso is the daughter of Christine and Robert Piso while Seth is the son of Darci and Eric Swenson.
The nine Seymour students with their coaches. Kneeling: Helena Jefferson and Dayton Priebe Standing middle: Coach Kellina Mattson; Stephanie Robertson, Coach Christine Glover, Seth Swenson, Leah Piso and Amanda Linskens. Back Row: Ethan Taubel, Brady Madison and Dylan Muenster.
– Photo by Rick Cohler