Nebraska Academic Decathlon gives out 150 scholarships totaling $47,000 in value yearly by sponsoring an annual statewide competition open to all high schools regardless of size. Each team is made up of at least two "A", two "B" and two "C" or below students who compete in ten categories, culminating in the exciting Super Quiz. Schools scrimmage at the large, medium, small, and very small levels at regional and state finals for medals and scholarships! NEAD is entirely volunteer run.
Nebraska Academic Decathlon (NEAD) promotes academic growth, teamwork, and communication skills through team competition. All students take the same tests; however, students at each level compete with students at their same level. For example, students at a B grade level compete with other B grade level students for medals in each of the 10 events. The Nebraska Academic Decathlon is for all students, not just the "top" students. Approximately 1,100 students participate each year.
Benefits of participation include:
• Development of a greater respect for knowledge and learning thus fostering growth and achievement
• Broadening intellectual horizons by exposure to many subjects
• Encouragement of expanded communication skills, including public speaking
• Promotion of teamwork, leadership, and interpersonal skills
• Involvement in statewide academic competition, earning medals
• Opportunity for scholarships at all academic levels
The curriculum theme changes every year. Students experience the challenges of team and individual competition in 10 events:
• Art
• Economics
• Essay
• Interview
• Literature
• Mathematics
• Music
• Science
• Social Studies
• Speech
Your generosity helps to increase knowledge, motivation and confidence of these students which enhances school performance, providing more opportunities for them to attend college! The support you give will benefit our youth today and create strong leaders for tomorrow.
"The Academic Decathlon was the one place where it was not just okay to be smart -- it was expected. The bio-ethics topic of one year spurred hours of debate that our normal classes wouldn't have allowed. Our coach treated us like human beings with thoughts and opinions of our own, and we were allowed and encouraged to expand those opinions across the whole range of fields of human endeavor." - Student

"I see the Academic Decathlon as being by far the most outstanding academic-based competition that I have ever seen. Not only is there a definite course of study (so it is not just a trivia contest), but that a team's success is not just dependent on a few gifted "A" students. To attract students with "B" and "C" averages to take pride in academics is part of the core of the success of the Decathlon. We have kids with "C" average who have become very academically minded. That, in itself, is a great measure of success -- to make kids want to become learners who might not otherwise want to be learners." - A Superintendent

The Japanese Academy of Science awarded a former Nebraska Decathlon Contestant their prestigious Medal of Honor for having discovered the tracer gene that causes asthma in people of Oriental descent. The young man, a freshman at MIT, discovered the gene while working on a special research project operated by graduate students in the Masters Program. At the awards ceremony, he declared, "I developed an interest in genetics while studying for the Nebraska Academic Decathlon competition last year."

"My son graduated last spring, having participated in the Academic Decathlon during his entire high school career. It was his joy and salvation. Thanks to the program, he learned enough to score 4s and 5s on five or six AP exams in subjects he had no classes in -- allowing him to begin at the University of Minnesota with second semester Sophomore standing." - Parents of NEAD student

"The Academic Decathlon taught me to focus more while studying and pay attention to detail. I can also testify to the program's effect on other students. For instance, we had a Varsity student who ridiculed his own intelligence and laughed at our team's chances. At State, that student won either medals - one more than me - and earned the third-highest score overall on the team. He has since solidified his plans to attend college. I believe this is one of the best aspects of the Decathlon; it provides everyone with a level playing field and makes participants realize their full potential." - Student

-The Omaha World-Herald featured this story: After the Kearney High School Team made State, a giant ice storm his NE the day of the competition. The school administration decided it was not prudent for the team to travel to Omaha. One of the students called to ask if she could still compete as her school's team if she drove to Omaha. After being assured she would be allowed to compete, she convinced her parents to drive her 200 miles to the State Final. During the competition, she earned three gold medals.

"I don't know why you invited me to compete in the Decathlon. As you know, I am not a very good student and was heavily involved in drugs. I want you to know that the Decathlon has give me a new reason for living and I have been off drugs for four months. I am studying harder in my other classes, my grades are improving in my classes and my counselor is trying to locate a college while will accept me." - A student to her teacher

"As academic competitions go, the Decathlon is the Mount Everest, the moon landing, the fight against cancer and the Tour de France. Students choose to participate in this program, like these others labors, in order to make themselves better. The study materials they must read each year exceed War and Peace in length - by far. They have to study art and learn the fine points of music. They have to plow through difficult novels and learn to analyze nineteenth-century poetry. They have to prepare for mind-numbing tests in economics, mathematics and science. They have to get dressed up and deliver speeches and undergo probing interviews. And they must prepare all ten of these Herculean tasks after they have completed their other high school studies. These doers of today and leaders of tomorrow are learning, through their Academic Decathlon experiences, that the solution to difficulty is through goal=setting, practice and preparation." - Coach