Some parents dream of watching their kids grow up and become athletic stars of their local high school but my wife always had a different dream. We don't have children but we have been surrounded by children for 15 years as my wife is a 4th grade teacher at Woodlake Elementary in Woodland HIlls, CA.
For years we have watched the Academic Decathlon with pride as El Camino Real High School the high school her elementary school feeds into has always been a big player in the event. Overall, ECR has won 5 National titles but in that time she has never had one of her ex students participate in the event.
Until now that is, Daniel de Haas became my wife's first ex-student to make the team and he has done it in a big way. Let me use the words of his father to express the pride he feels.
Daniel made the El Camino Real High School Academic Decathlon team this year as a Junior. He is anchoring the 3rd of three levels, the C team, aka the ‘Varsity’. The latest news is that at the LAUSD ‘city’ competition, El Camino won not only the whole competition but also the Super Quiz portion of the competition, the only portion viewable by the public. For our family, the most exciting part was Daniel being awarded 3 Gold Medals (+ two team Gold medals), 3 Silver Medals and several honorable mentions for the 10-event competition. At the awards ceremony last week at the LA Convention Center we all learned for the first time that Daniel had the highest score for the varsity team in the whole of LAUSD. Just when I got over the sensory overload feeling a few days later we learned that there was one more surprise. In fact, Daniel achieved the highest score in the nation in the Varsity level, something no other ECR team member achieved at any level.
When people ask educators what is wrong with the system the usual reply is "parental involvment". I've worked with many parents over the last 15 years and while I'm not an educator the facts speak for themselves. Daniel's father, Darryl may have been the most involved parent I've ever met. He went from being a great classroom parent to being a good friend. It is not a surprise that Daniel de Hass is having such success. The best part is that Daniel is a good kid, the kind of kid any parent would be proud to know his kid is friends with.
The LAUSD Academic Decathlon Awards Ceremony were filmed live by KLCS (Channel 12 in Woodland Hills) and the awards ceremony will be re-broadcast this Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 3:00 PM, the same day of the Academy Awards.