I am the former decathlete who has spearheaded the cause to save Academic Decathlon in Yuba County. I am writing this in response to the unsatisfactory, deceptive, and misleading letter sent by Dr. Reveles and YCOE in response to our email campaign.
First, they claim their reasoning is to keep students safe and increase program participation. Let me say, unequivocally, there is absolutely no risk to students. As touched on in the original email, the entire program is online. This year’s county champions, a team my sister was on, was able to participate and compete in state competition entirely online.
Their second claim was that postponing the program would increase participation; this claim is completely groundless. Anyone who has participated in this program knows that returning team members keep the team alive by spearheading the recruitment process. YCOE and Dr. Reveles would know this if they spoke to any students or coaches prior to their decision.
This brings me to my next point, the mischaracterized call with the Marysville High School coach was made minutes before the YCOE shared their official announcement and was not a consultation, but a warning. Additionally, there are two other coaches and teams in the county, none of whom were contacted.
Furthermore, most of the “burden” of the challenges created by an online competition is on the students and coaches whom YCOE ignored in this decision. They mention that YCOE brought back the program, this effort, made decades ago, took an extreme amount of work, with increased investment and resources in the program. YCOE has woefully neglected this program for the past decade, I witnessed it firsthand as a competitor. They have demonstrated none of the initiative and dedication it would take to revitalize the program; that is SHOULD they decide to bring it back.
YCOE can attempt to exonerate themselves by claiming they are merely postponing the program and will reevaluate whether to bring it back in 2021, however, by postponing the program for just one year they will assuredly kill it.
If they truly support this program, they will listen to the students and coaches who want to participate and keep it alive. Right now, Dr. Reveles, Gary Cena, MJUSD, and YCOE are failing our students. I will not sit Idly by and watch.