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The California Academic Decathlon's (CAD) mission is to promote, engage and reward learning and academic excellence among high school students of varying achievement levels by providing a rigorous, standards-based, multidisciplinary academic program that prepare them for college and their future.
Modeled after the Olympics, the Academic Decathlon is a competitive event that provides high school students the opportunity to participate in an environment that fosters a deep respect for knowledge, cooperation, and self-esteem. While the Olympic events are contests of physical strength, the Academic Decathlon is a contest of academic strength, stimulating academic achievement and honoring "athletes of the mind.". The Academic Decathlon includes tests in Art, Music, Language and Literature, Mathematics, Economics, Science, and Social Science. In addition, there are communication tests that include the writing of an expository essay, the delivery of a prepared and an impromptu speech, and an interview.