LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A team of talented students from Granada Hills Charter High School have won the National Academic Decathlon for the third year in a row.

They returned Saturday night and were greeted with a warm welcome from their families at Los Angeles International Airport.

“A ‘three-peat’ in the local, state and national competition is exceptional!,” said Executive Director Brian Bauer. “I salute this team and their coaches for their record-breaking performance, the honor they have bestowed on Granada Hills Charter, and the charter school ‘can do’ spirit that they embody.”

The team, comprised of eight girls and one boy, were tested on art, science and literature at the competition in Minneapolis. They also delivered speeches and were interviewed by judges.

“It’s been hard, it’s been difficult, it’s been fun and I think we’ve learned a lot and grown a lot as people,” said Decathlete Hamidah Mahmud. “It’s a lot of sacrifice, but it’s worth it because you get to go to the national championship — kind of like ‘Mean Girls,’ if you’ve seen that movie. It’s pretty great.”

Granada Hills Charter is the only public school to earn the title three years in a row. They beat El Camino Real Charter High School, whose team came in second.

Granada Hills Charter Decathletes are seniors Bea Dimaunahan, Faria Ghori, Rina Kim, Kimberly Ly, Kelley Ma and Hamidah Mahmud; and juniors Jenny Baek, Jake Chong, and Kailin Li. Their coaches are Matthew Arnold, Spencer Wolf and Nick Weber.

Ly and Mahmud were members of the 2012 city, state and national championship team.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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