The Academic Decathlon® program was started in California in 1968 by the Orange County Academic Decathlon Association, in cooperation with the Orange County Superintendent of School’s office. The Arizona Academic Decathlon Association (AADA) was formed in 1985 from the Pima County Academic Decathlon Association, which was started the previous year by the Pima County School Superintendent. Arizona held its first statewide competition in 1985.
The AADA, made up of representatives of the business community, civic organizations, and concerned individuals, was formed to promote Decathlon programs throughout the state. Contributions to the program are tax deductible under IRS 501(c)(3) provisions.
AADA has provided high-level scholastic competition for Arizona high school students since our inception more than 30 years ago. As the name indicates, students compete in ten areas: art, economics, essay, interview, literature, mathematics, music, science, social science, & speech.
Each team of nine decathletes has to include 3 “A”, 3 “B” and 3 “C” students; each level competes only against other students within that category with medals for each category, and scholarships being awarded to gold medalists.
Arizona has four regional competitions held the first weekend in February; in any given year, 80-100 teams compete at the regional level. 40 teams advance to the state competition in March, with the state champion going on to the United States Academic Decathlon National Finals in April. Arizona’s teams regularly place in the top 5 nationally.