Marshall Edged Out by Franklin for Third in State Academic Decathlon

John Marshall High School, a two-time National Decathlon winner, finished second in the LAUSD competition last month.

Los Feliz's two-time U.S. Academic Decathlon winner John Marshall High School had to settle for fourth place in this state this year.

The team racked up 49,298 points, just behind Highland Park's Franklin High with 49,731 in Sacramento at the California Academic Decathlon competition this weekend.

Coach Larry Welch's Marshall team included Aninda Bhowmick, Natasha Boyd, Ashley Cruz, Jose Herrera, Julio Lopez, Kevin Martinez, Marvin Paparisto, Amy Tan, and Angelica Tecson.

Granada Hills High School led the field with 51,590, followed by El Camino. Bevelry Hills High finished fifth.

This year's competition centered on the theme of Russia.

Marshall might have been expected to do better. In the LAUSD-wide championships held last month, Marshall finished in second place overall, just behind Granada Hills.

Marshall also tied with Granada to win the Super Quiz at the LAUSD level. Franklin won it in Sacramento, which may have made the difference.

The 90-minute super quiz comprises 36 questions and is the only part of Academic Decathlon held before a public audience.


Decathlon victories are a tradition at Marshall.

In 1987, Marshall had become the first Los Angeles Unified School District high school to win a national decathlon.

The Los Angeles Times wrote at the time:

Located in the Los Feliz-Silver Lake area, Marshall has many students who come from low-income immigrant families. Thus the school was particularly proud of its victory over wealthy Beverly Hills and Palo Alto in the state finals last month. Three of the nine Marshall competitors were not born in the United States.

Marshall duplicated its decathlon win a few years later. The decathlon team has become a refuge for urban, immigrant high school students who wanted to go on to college and further academic success.

Franklin's victory somewhat parallels current demographics, where gentrifying Highland Park still retains a large immigrant population.

Marshall now serves a largely affluent area, with Belmont High serving recent immigrant populations in Historic Filipinotown and Westlake.

Sam K. March 20, 2013 at 09:41 PM
Marshall is one of the truly elite Academic Decathlon programs in the COUNTRY. Great job Marshall, you'll get 'em next year!


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