By Yong Chavez
ABS-CBN North America Bureau
LOS ANGELES – Filipino students were among the big winners in one of southern California’s biggest scholastic competitions.
This year’s academic junior high decathlon champion, Notre Dame Academy, had three Filipinos in its 10-member team, while several Pinoy students took home top prizes in literature, religion, and other individual categories.
Mishka Caruncho, Member of Winning Decathlon Team said,â€Iâ€™m really glad that we got 1st because we really deserved it after 7 months of studying.â€
Over 1,000 students from 104 catholic schools competed in the decathlon. The event was undertaken by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the largest archdiocese in America.
Organizers said, typically, Filipino students make up more than forty percent of the decathletes every year.
This is a source of pride to the decathlonâ€™s director Jo Solomonson,who said,â€ Filipino children are really excellent, especially in this academic competition.â€
The decathlon was held at the Los Angeles sports arena which attracted thousands of attendees.
Students were quizzed on multiple subjects like English, science, math and current events. Only the smartest 10 middle-school students per school got to participate.
12-year- old Gabriela Sarmiento, who wants to work as a stock broker someday, said her hardworking parents are her inspiration.
Decathlon Coach John Reyes, said, â€œThe Filipino culture drives success and hard work. A lot of these students embody those things.â€
Another Decathlon coach, Ofelia Ruta, said, â€œThey studied until the wee hours sometimes until twelve midnight or even 2 a.m. they are still awake. They couldnâ€™t sleep but itâ€™s worth it. It pays off.â€
The winning team will get a quick break before hitting the books again. In early May, they will face the other diocese winners for the state championship.