Once again, the Lourdes Central Catholic Academic Decathlon team proved that good things come in small packages. On February 17-18, 2017, the team, coached by Tammy Partsch and Tom Dinville, traveled to Creighton University in Omaha for the Nebraska Academic Decathlon State competition and walked away as the State Champions in the Very Small Schools category.

The team also competed well enough in the categories of Art, Music, Language & Literature, Science, Economics, Social Science, Math, Speech, Interview, and Essay to be named State Runner-Ups in the Very Small and Small School categories combined. They were Runner-Ups to Elkhorn Mount Michael, who was named as the overall class winner for the entire state.

As a result of their placement, the Lourdes Central Catholic Academic Decathlon team has been invited to participate in the Online Small Nationals competition, which will pit them against other schools from around the country with a student population of less than 650 students. Lourdes’ current student population is 100.

The Online Small Nationals competition is scheduled for April.

As a team, the Lourdes students earned 29 total individual medals, including five Golds, 12 Silvers, and 12 Bronzes. Senior Marissa Galardi was the top scorer for Lourdes

“When I joined Decathlon three years ago, I figured I would learn tons of facts and trivia bits that many high school students never even come across in their studies…and I did!” she said. “However, I also learned what it means to work hard and achieve your goals. More than goals and facts, I gained a family. This year, the whole team came together and we learned so much more than what was in the study guides.”

This was the 33rd year that Nebraska has participated in the United State Academic Decathlon program. Lourdes Central Catholic began its program in the mid-1990s and has made the trip to State every year since its inception.

Students from all grade levels are tested across the curriculum under the umbrella of a theme that changes each year. The 2016-2017 theme was World War II. The Lourdes students learned of the theme at the end of last school year and began studying over the summer.

The Nebraska Academic Decathlon is organized by the Optimists Club and is underwritten by Herb Lavigne Enterprises.


The 2016-2017 Lourdes Central Catholic Academic Decathlon team from front left: Grant Draus, Maddie Daly, Marissa Galardi, Halli Whitten, Nicole Green, Kaseandra Martinez, and Victoria Gress. From back row left, Coach Tom Dinville, Nate Harmel, Jack Bakula, James Mason, Jackson Esser, Emmanuel Encina-Garcia, Patrick O’Neil, and Coach Tammy Partsch. Not pictured is Tristian Peter.