The academic decathletes of Franklin High posed for this team photo shortly before school closed in March. From left: Principal Regina Marquez-Martinez, Raquel Alegria, John Bermudez, Julian Martinez, Benicio Rivera, Henry Reyes, Bienn Viquiera, David Coronilla, Michael Sanchez and Coach Egon Trujillo

Franklin Competes with Distinction in State Academic Decathlon, Competition Took Place Online

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By Mary Lynch

Franklin High School in Highland Park ranked first out of 20 schools in its division and 14th out of 65 schools overall in the recent California state finals of the Academic Decathlon.

Franklin’s achievement in the state finals followed a fifth place showing in February among 55 teams from the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The state competition, originally scheduled to take place in Sacramento at the end of March, was held online due to coronavirus-related restrictions on travel and gatherings.

Franklin Principal Regina Marquez-Martinez said the team members were “resilient and driven” as the pandemic led to the closure of school and the cancellation of the Sacramento trip.

Team coach Egon Trujillo, who teachers Honors Biology and Honors Physiology at Franklin, said his team stuck together, training for the state finals remotely from home, determined to finish what they started. “In the end, not only did they grow as a team, but they developed as critical thinkers, problem solvers, competitors, leaders and role-models for us all,” said Trujillo.

There were several highlights for Franklin in the state competition: Henry Reyes, a senior on the team, made the top 100 list of individual scorers, ranking 19th out of some 500 competitors.

Reyes and other Franklin team members were also individually recognized for being among the top three scorers in various competition categories. Reyes was recognized in the categories of Art, Economics, Essay, Music and Social Science; John Bermudez, a senior, was recognized in Art and Mathematics; David Coronilla, a junior, was recognized in Mathematics.

In addition, Reyes and Bermudez, along with team members Bienn Viquiera, a senior, and Raquel Alegria, a senior, were individually recognized for high scores in the Super Quiz, the competition’s signature event.

The first place winner of the California Academic Decathlon was El Camino Real Charter High School in Woodland Hills. Bell Senior High School in Bell, which placed first in the LAUSD competition in February, ranked 7th among the 65 schools in the state competition.

The national competition of the Academic Decathlon, originally scheduled to take place in Anchorage, Alaska at the end of April, was cancelled due to the coronavirus.

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