1. Was the Academic Decathlon Program developed in Nebraska?

No, the program was developed by Dr. Robert Peterson, former Superintendent of the Orange County School System in California. He developed the program in 1968 as a means to impact the motivational decisions of all students in his school system. After spreading the program to many high schools in California, the program became a national program in 1982. Nebraska participated for the first time in 1983.

2. Are there any unique features in the Academic Decathlon Program?

If a school wants to compete in the program, it must have at least two students with following guidelines:

  1. An “A” grade point average in all academic courses for the last two years (Honor level student);
  2. A “B” grade point average in all academic courses for the last two years (Scholastic level student);
  3. C “C or below” grade point average in all academic courses for the last two years(Varsity level student).

Thus, a school needs a Regular Team of six students and each school is encouraged to have an Alternate Team with at least six students. In addition, participating schools may have as many students in its academic decathlon program as the school desires.

3. How is the Nebraska Academic Decathlon Program funded?

The program is funded through donations from individuals, foundations, businesses, service clubs and civic groups. The program has never received any funds from either the state government or the federal government.

If you want to make a tax-deductible donation, please either mail a check to:
Nebraska Academic Decathlon Foundation:
2175 N. 124th Ave. Cir.
Omaha, NE 68164

or go to the Donate page to donate online.

The website has additional information on donation opportunities. A major part of the cost is the scholarships earned by all members of the 1st place, 2nd place and 3rd place team at all Regionals and in both divisions (Small School and Large School) at the State Final.

4. Which high schools are eligible to enroll in the Nebraska Academic Decathlon Program?

All accredited high schools in Nebraska (public or private) can enroll in the program. All high school students are eligible to participate in the program once the administration decides to participate. The decision on which students participate in the program is solely the choice of the school.

5. What is the procedure for enrolling in the Nebraska Academic Decathlon Program?

The procedure for enrolling a school in the program is:

  1. The school administrator(usually the Principal) authorizes the completion of the entry form.  Send to:
    Vicki Deniston Reed
    Executive Directorship Team Leader
    1009 Hickory St.  
    Omaha, NE 68108
  2. The Principal selects one or more teachers to facilitate the preparation of the students. It is not necessary that the individual or individuals be on the current staff. A school can select a person or persons outside the school-i.e.-former teacher, …
  3. The selected facilitator recruits interested students. A school is encouraged to recruit as large a group as possible. The size of the two testing teams is delineated in FAQ #2. Although these teams are limited to a maximum of 12 students, a school is encouraged to enlarge the benefits to a larger number.
  4. The facilitator orders study materials from the United States Academic Decathlon. NOTE: For a first-time competitor, a packet of study materials sufficient for ten students is provided by an organization from metro Omaha.
  5. The facilitator arranges an appropriate study plan for the interested students.

The enrollment deadline for first-time competitors is September 15. The entry fee is $175.

6. What are the competition dates?

The Regional competition is held on the third Saturday in January. The Regionals are based on the enrollment level of the schools. There are four breakdowns of school size in Nebraska: Large, Medium, Small and Very Small. The location of the Regionals are established to minimize the travel costs of the participating schools.

The State Final is held on the third full weekend in February in Omaha. An Essay test is completed online at an earlier date. On Friday evening, the students compete in the Interview and Speech events.  On Saturday, the remaining seven tests are completed. In addition, the Awards Ceremony is held shortly after the last test.

7. Are there any special programs for the participating schools?

Yes, Each first-time competitor receives from an anonymous donor (at no cost) a comprehensive curriculum package which contains 10 copies of the six resource guides, 10 copies of the four basic guides, 10 copies of the art reproduction booklet, 10 copies of the three research guides, 10 Music CDs and a Practice Test. The Nebraska Academic Decathlon will provide a copy of the required novel, a set of notebook dividers and an on-line testing subscription for 9 students.

In addition, the Study Materials Program pays 75% of the cost of a Basic Curriculum Packet in the second year of competition; 50% of the cost of a Basic Curriculum Packet in the third year of competition and 25% of the cost of a Basic Curriculum Packet in the fourth year of competition.

For smaller schools, the Facilitator Support Program will provides a first-time competitor a stipend of $500 per year. This stipend would help locate a teacher to monitor the program. Although this stipend can be a strong tool to recruit a new school into the program, the optimal benefit for the students can only occur if the school continues its enrollment. Therefore, this program will make a five-year stipend commitment to any new participating small school. The five-year period should allow the school to build a base of support for the Nebraska Academic Decathlon Program among the students, parents, staff and administration. In accepting this program, a school agrees to participate for five more years after the five-year stipend period ends. For the 2008-09 academic year, there are six stipends available and they will be allocated on a first
come-first taken basis.

The top scoring first-time competitor at the Regional level will be given a position at the State Final because the school is the Rookie of the Year.