The AJHD Mission
As Catholic school educators, we affirm that each young person entrusted to our care has been endowed by God with marvelous intellectual gifts and talents. The United States Catholic Schools Academic Junior High Decathlon (or AJHD) strives to bring forth some of those academic talents and celebrate them in the context of spirit-filled competition. The five goals of the Decathlon are:
  • to promote academic excellence
  • to promote collaborative spirit and cooperative learning skills
  • to promote logical and higher order thinking
  • to recognize the contributions of parents, teachers, school administrators, and business and community members in supporting high standards for all students; and
  • to celebrate the diversity, excellence, and tradition of Catholic schools

The Catholic Schools Academic Junior High Decathlon was founded in September, 1989 by Dr. Mark Ryan who was then a junior high teacher at St. Aloysius School in south-central Los Angeles. Dr. Ryan had a vision for an academic event to parallel the athletic competitions so prevalent in schools. What began as a tiny competition involving a handful of schools from the greater Los Angeles area has grown to become a nation-wide event involving Catholic junior high students from across the United States. The Decathlon is now under the guiding jurisdiction of the California Catholic State Superintendents Curriculum Committee.

What is the Decathlon?
The Academic Junior High Decathlon is a competition for students in grades 6 through 8. There are ten events. Two are collaborative team efforts – a logic quiz with 20 rigorous thinking problems, and a super quiz with 50 multiple choice questions on five broad academic themes. The remaining eight events test individual knowledge of the Roman Catholic doctrine, English, Literature, Science, Mathematics, Current Events, Social Studies, and Fine Arts (Art and Music). Awards are given for individual and team performance, and the winning school team from each geographic diocese competes in a national championship, usually held in April.

Prayer of Wisdom

God of Wisdom,This task we undertake, called the United States Catholic Schools Academic Junior High Decathlon,
is a mammoth one.Help us to always remember that everything we do,we can do because of your goodness which works in and through us.May the Decathlon be a source of individual and group pride,happiness, self-respect, and commitment.You have enlightened the minds of our young people, giving them an intellect with which to make positive decisions for a better world.May this event be a celebration of our minds and the power they hold.We give you glory for the gifts of knowledge and intelligence.May we use these gifts for your glory and always work toward the realization of the kingdom your son sought to establish among us.We make this prayer in Jesus' name.Amen