January commences five months of high energy, intense academic events and competitions administered by the Kern County Superintendent of Schools office. From mid-January through the end of the academic year in May, thousands of students will exhibit their knowledge and skills in a dozen language arts, history, government, mathematics, science and fine arts events based on state curriculum standards.
Winning at the county level can mean a trip to state and perhaps national venues for those who have been diligently preparing since the school year began last August.
Here, courtesy of the KCSOS office, is a breakdown of upcoming student events.
Kern County Academic Decathlon Essay, Speech and Interview Day, 1300 17th St., not open to the public: Often referred to as the "Super Bowl of Academics," the Academic Decathlon’s first installment puts students to the test in three categories — essays, speeches and interviews. The event comprises 10 events in total, with the remaining seven categories to be contested on Feb. 3.
Kern County Mock Trial Super Saturday, Kern County Superior Courts, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; East Bakersfield High School, 4:30 awards ceremony: High school teams compete in a series of mock trial rounds where students have the opportunity to participate as prosecution attorneys, defense attorneys, defendants and witnesses in a simulated case developed by the Constitutional Rights Foundation. Students acquire skills in public speaking, critical analysis and deduction.
Kern County Oral Language Festival, Stonecreek Junior High, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Students memorize and present their interpretation of a published literary work, written by a known author. Presentations are 3-5 minutes in length with grades 4-6 and grades 7-8 competing separately. Categories of competition are: Verse Choir, Humorous Interpretation Solo, Humorous Interpretation Duo, Serious Interpretation Solo and Serious Interpretation Duo.
Grand Night for Music, Rabobank Convention Center, 7 p.m.: A concert presented by Kern County High Schools’ honor band, choir and orchestra. Students earn a place in this annual showcase of Kern County’s finest high school musicians and singers through an audition process.
We the People Congressional Hearings, state finals, Golden Valley High School: Teams of students from high schools around California including local students will put their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution to the test during the annual “We the People” Congressional Hearings state finals.
Kern County Academic Decathlon, Mira Monte High School, all day, not open to the public until 2 p.m.; awards ceremony, 5:30 p.m.: County high school teams grouped by scholastic grade level — A, B or C — will contest the remaining seven events of this grueling 10 event test of knowledge. They will be tested in Music, Language and Literature, Art, Mathematics, Science, Economics and a Super Quiz. The highest scoring team represents the county at the state finals.
Open Door to Federal Court, Highland High School: High school seniors participate in a mock trial, listen to presentations and ask questions of a variety of federal employees.
Honor Music Festival, Rabobank Convention Center, 7 p.m.: Junior high and middle school students earn a place in honor band, chorus and orchestra after being selected through an audition process.
Kern County History Day, Larry E. Reider Educational Center (2000 K St.), 9 a.m.: History Day is an interdisciplinary program that encourages students to research and prepare papers, exhibits, posters, performances, and documentaries on an annual historical theme. Students learn to be historical detectives and sharpen their skills as writers, artists and performers.
Kern County Science Fair, Rabobank Convention Center: After months of testing their selected hypothesis through research and experiments, elementary through high school age students offer their findings before judges in quest of medals and cash rewards. Winners have a chance to compete at the State Science Fair.
Henry Greve Speech Contest, 1300 17th St., 6:30 p.m.: Established in 1955 for seventh and eighth graders, the Henry Greve Speech Contest offers students the opportunity to present four-and-a-half to seven-minute speeches on a given topic.
State Mock Trial: Orange County
State Academic Decathlon: Sacramento
National Academic Decathlon: Madison, Wis.
California State Science Fair, California Science Center: Los Angeles
April 27-May 1
We the People Congressional Hearings, national finals: Washington, D.C.
Math Field Day, Liberty High School: Math Field Day is a fun-filled day of learning and competing for middle school and junior high students. It is part competition and part celebration, as students use all that they have learned about math throughout the year in fun contests and relays to win individual and group awards.
Youth Authors’ Fair, Larry E. Reider Educational Center (2000 K St.), 8 a.m. to noon: Authors Lee Wardlaw, Joan Bransfield Graham, Larry Dane Brimner, and Jane Tenorio-Coscarelli will be visiting schools each day from April 23-27 with a culminating event on April 28. On the 28th, schools will display student-authored books and all four authors will do presentations and autographing. Books by the authors will be on sale.
April 30, May 1 & May 4
Kern Battle of the Books, Kern County Museum, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.: Fourth- through sixth-graders are placed on mixed school teams to compete by answering questions about approved books they have read. The competition is broken up into three divisions: North, Central and South county schools.
State History Day: Rocklin, Calif.
Bank of America Speech Contest, Larry E. Reider Educational Center, 2000 K St., 6:30 p.m.: Sponsored and judged by bank employees, students in grades four through six have to write an essay on the same given theme. The best essayists in preliminary competition deliver their essay as a speech in grade levels to win trophies.
National Mock Trial: Reno, Nev.
National History Day: University of Maryland