How did the Academic Decathlon begin?
In 1968, a gifted educator and Superintendent of Schools in Orange County, Dr. Robert D. Peterson, put in place a local academic competition for high school students. The idea was to provide a forum for celebrating and acknowledging scholastic achievement and academic excellence in the context of a team environment much like high school sports. Dr. Peterson’s idea proved to be so successful that it began catching on and eventually spread to other counties, culminating in the formation of the California Academic Decathlon Association in 1979. As other states became interested in competing, the United States Academic Decathlon was birthed in 1982, and has since grown into the premier scholastic competition in America.