VALLEY SAVORS TEAM'S WIN.Byline: David R. Baker Daily News Staff Writer
As Lily Ngo listened to the news from Rhode Island on Sunday, her joy and relief erupted in a high, loud laugh.
Across the continent from her Canoga Park home, Ngo's son Bruce and seven other El Camino Real High School El Camino Real High School (also known locally as "ECR" and by some more recently as "ELCO") is a public secondary school located in the Woodland Hills district of the San Fernando Valley region of the city of Los Angeles, California. students had just seized first place in the U.S. Academic Decathlon decathlon (dĭkăth`lŏn), in modern Olympic games, a contest for men held over two days and composed of 10 track-and-field events. , a goal that had consumed him for months.
``He's been devoted to this, day and night,'' she said. ``I'm so proud of him!''
Word of the win rippled through the San Fernando Valley San Fernando Valley
Valley, southern California, U.S. Northwest of central Los Angeles, the valley is bounded by the San Gabriel, Santa Susana, and Santa Monica mountains and the Simi Hills. on Sunday afternoon, spreading by newscast and phone. Relatives, friends and school district officials alike savored the victory after years of near-misses and marveled at the team's high score - 52,131 out of a possible 60,000.
``It can't get much more perfect,'' said David Tokofsky, a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District The Los Angeles Unified School District (the "LAUSD") is the largest (in terms of number of students) public school system in California and the second-largest in the United States. Only the New York City Department of Education has a larger student population. Board of Education.
Eleven years ago, Tokofsky coached the first LAUSD LAUSD Los Angeles Unified School District (Los Angeles, CA) Academic Decathlon team to take the national title. On Sunday he praised the El Camino team members and their teachers, saying that winning requires months of devotion from all involved.
``It takes a tremendous amount of commitment, on the edge of insanity,'' he said.
Ngo said her son did little during the past seven months but study with the team. The effort, she said, paid off by forcing Bruce to become more focused than he had ever been in the past.
Jawad Baig said his cousin on the team, Taimur, even dropped high school football to have a chance at the Academic Decathlon title.
``He gave up everything else when he got on the team,'' Jawad Baig said. ``Proud of him? Sure I am.''
Among members of past El Camino Real El Camino Real (Spanish for The Royal Road or The King's Highway) was the name of a series of pre-automobile highways linking the various New World colonies of Spain:
Last year, Mike Montgomery belonged to the El Camino Real team that came in second to James E. Taylor High School James E. Taylor High School, also known as Katy Taylor High School, is a public high school in Harris County, Texas, near the city of Katy. The school, which serves grades 9 through 12, is a part of the Katy Independent School District. of Texas, whose score set a record. It was the second year in a row that El Camino placed second nationally.
``The score we had was just about the third highest score ever,'' he said. ``Any other year, we would have won.''
Although Montgomery only knows a few people on the current team, he said he would congratulate them when they came home.
``Third time's the charm,'' he said. ``It's good for the school, it's good for everyone.''