Above, Eagle Rock High School Principal Mylene Keipp has great memories of her experience as a proctor in the Super Quiz, an event in the annual Academic Decathlon.

On Saturday, 500 students from 57 L.A. Unified high schools convened at Roybal Learning Center for a day of grueling tests and brain-busting challenges as they vied for the District championship in the U.S. Academic Decathlon. Based on this year’s theme of Africa, the students competed in seven academic events – art, music, language/literature, math, economics, social science and science – as well as the public Super Quiz. In addition to school staff who dedicate countless hours coaching their team, hundreds of other employees from across the District pitch in during Academic Decathlon season, serving as judges and proctors. Among the veterans is Mylene Keipp, the principal of Eagle Rock Junior/Senior High, who has been a proctor of the Super Quiz. She shares her experience here:

By Mylene Keipp

Last year was my first time volunteered to proctor the Super Quiz, and I must have reviewed the instructions and procedures at least a dozen times! I wanted to do the job in a way that would be worthy of the schools and the scholars who had spent so much time studying and preparing.

On test day, when I walked into the bustle of the gymnasium and saw the clusters of folding chairs set up for the competitors, it blew me away. I found the check-in table, and my heart jumped when I was assigned Granada Hills Charter High School, the defending national Academic Decathlon champion. I was going to have a front-row seat to a school that lived and breathed AcaDeca. I told myself, “Breathe. Focus.”

I was even more excited that, from my seat, I could also watch the team from Eagle Rock Senior High. As I waited for the competition to begin, I chatted with so many friends and acquaintances from throughout the District who also volunteer to proctor. Connecting with my colleagues helped keep my nerves at bay.

Once the logistics were completed, the students paraded in, showing unparalleled school spirit and a celebration of academics with vibrant colors, mascots and cheers. After the host explained the process, the Varsity, Scholastic, Honors students – competing based on their Grade Point Average – tackled the questions with gusto. After hearing each question, the teams had just 30 seconds to collaborate on an answer, shade in the “bubble” in their score sheet and submit the answer. What a flurry of pencils, talk time, hand scoring, and score raising! I felt like a champion too, even though I didn’t understand most of the questions!

Super Quiz is a day of stars – students, parents, teachers, coaches, Beyond the Bell staff, volunteers, and countless others – who contribute to our championship constellation in the Academic Decathlon universe.

L.A. Unifed conclude its two-day Academic Decathlon competition on Saturday, Feb. 3, at Roybal Learning Center. The Super Quiz, the competition’s only public event, was held from 4-6 p.m. The winner of the District championship will be announced during a Feb. 11 ceremony at Belmont High School. The top winner, and a yet-to-be-determined number of wildcard entries, will compete for the California championship in Sacramento on March 22-25. The U.S. Academic Decathlon finals will be April 19-21 in Frisco, Texas.

Click here to watch a KLCS-TV video on the Super Quiz.