Academic Decathlon Art Competition

  • Background

    The Academic Decathlon is a 10-event competition for high school students.  The purpose of the Decathlon Art Competition is to promote art in Madera County and to select artwork that will be used to create the program book cover, posters, and other printed materials for the 2023-2024 Madera County Academic Decathlon and Academic Pentathlon.   This year’s theme is "Technology and Humanity."


    Any Madera County high school student from a school with a Decathlon team is eligible to participate.  A panel of judges will review entries.  The Academic Decathlon curriculum outlines may be found by clicking on the USAD Curriculum Outlines.  A signed release form is required for each piece of artwork.  Form must accompany each entry.  Art without a signed release form is not eligible for competition.

    Deadlines and Instructions

    • All entries must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, December 1, 2023.
    • A hard-copy 8.5" x 11" portrait of the artwork must be submitted.
    • Please submit a copy of the Registration and Liability Release Form with each entry (contact Kristi for the form).
    • All artwork must be submitted to: Kristi Winter
      Madera County Superintendent of Schools (MCSOS)
      1105 S. Madera Avenue, Madera, CA  93637

Selection Criteria

  • The artwork will be judged on the following criteria:

    • Execution of the theme:  The theme for the 2023-2024 Academic Decathlon is "Technology and Humanity."  More information on the theme, including the 18 selected art pieces, may be viewed by downloading various USAD Subject Outlines.  Entries will be judged on how well they reflect the overall theme and style of the topic. 
    • Craftsmanship: Includes composition, form, technique, balance, proportion, unity and other qualities that reflect the artist’s ability to successfully create in the chosen medium.
    • Creativity:  The extent to which the student shows originality of idea, an unusual or diverse approach, and uniqueness in the artwork will be evaluated.
    • Overall Impression:  This includes the overall response to the art as well as how effective it will be as the selected image for the competition’s printed materials.  In addition, judges will ensure that artwork is in good taste and contains appropriate content for high school students and the general public.

Exhibit and Awards

  • Select art may be displayed on the Madera County Superintendent of Schools art exhibit wall located on the first floor in the hallway.  All artwork will become the property of MCSOS.

    The following awards will be presented:

    • Overall Excellence:  This top award will be presented to the student whose artwork best represents the Academic Decathlon theme, and addresses concept, content, aesthetics, and design.  The award-winning design will be reproduced for Decathlon and Pentathlon materials, including but not limited to: posters, event programs, and pins.  The recipient will be honored with $100.00 and a plaque.
    • Certificates of Participation:  Award certificates will be delivered to teachers for distribution to all participating students. 

    Awards will also be presented for digital and traditional media (depending on the number of entries).  Up to two awards will be given in each of the following categories, as well as up to three overall Honorable Mentions.

    • Concept and Content:  This award will be presented to the student whose artwork reflects sophisticated integration and interpretation of the theme, relevance to social and artistic dialogue, as well as high quality mastery of the selected medium.
    • Aesthetics and Design:  This award will be presented to the student whose artwork reflects a sophisticated understanding of composition and principles of design in art making.

Rules and Procedures

  • Artwork must have the following characteristics:

    • Original hand created artwork, computer generated artwork, or a combination of the two. Art must not contain duplication of artwork found electronically or in printed form.
    • Artwork that makes a visual impact, and communicates with clarity the theme of the competition.  The artwork does not need to include text.  MCSOS will add the Decathlon theme, date, and location to create final printed materials.
    • Artwork must be easily reproduced on posters.  If selected, hand created artwork will be scanned and edited in order to meet printing specifications.  Artwork need not be a collage.
    • The resolution of all electronic artwork MUST be at least 300 dpi for the overall file and for any embedded images in the file.
    • The size of the artwork must be 8.5” x 11” portrait.

2023 Winning Entry

  • Art of a bald eagle ripping apart the American and British flag
    Lauren Tucker
    Chowchilla Union High School

Previous Winning Entries

  • Painting of a hand pulling the world out of the ocean in a raindrop
    2022 Winning Entry
    Isaac Enrique
    Matilda Torres High School

    Digital artwork of two astronauts placing an American and a Russian flag on the moon
    2021 Winning Entry
    Ashley Vazquez
    Madera High School  

    Drawing of a woman in front of a colorful background
    2019 Winning Art Entry
    Efren Lopez
    Chowchilla Union High School

    Two silouetted giraffes in front of an outline of Africa on orange background
    2018 Winning Art Entry
    Valerie Miranda
    Madera South High School